Kick Off Your Career With a Bang (2021 Edition)

After one of the longest years that we can remember, 2021 has finally arrived.

And this year, things are looking more hopeful. The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out in its millions. The Eurovision song contest will be back. And the Pussycat Dolls are on tour. *SCREAMS*

But enough of that.

It's a new year. And that means a chance to bulk up your CV, gain valuable work experience and get your professional career kicked off with a bang.

Get started now. FOLLOW our 5 TOP TIPS to get career-ready in 2021...

#1 Find YOUR perfect work experience type

Work experience is a bit like pasta. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

And there are a LOT of varieties to choose from. 

As well as voluntary opportunities, you can find and secure PAID placement years, internships and insight schemes with a range of Top Employers.

You can find out more about each scheme here. If you're in a hurry, just read our quick overview below.

Placement years:

10-13 month structured, full-time work experience programmes. They typically take place between your second and third year of university. Also known as a 'sandwich year' or 'year in industry.'


4-16 week structured full-time work experience programmes. These occur during your university holidays, typically over the summer between your second and third year of university.

Insight/ Vacation Schemes:

Short term work experience, ranging from 1-10 days. Longer length schemes are paid, whilst shorter ones may be unpaid (but expenses will be covered). They occur during the Easter break, and are designed for first and second year students.

#2 Do some SERIOUS employer research

Before you begin filling out job applications, you'll need to find an employer which is offering work experience in your industry AND aligns with your interests and requirements. 

That means researching their company values, training opportunities and work culture

You can find the inside scoop on hundreds of employers by reading over 65,000 student-submitted reviews. (Obviously, we don't mean EVERY SINGLE ONE). Just those you're interested in.

These reviews will give you more info about the guidance/ support you will receive, the organisation of the work experience programme and the training opportunities provided by the employer.

If you want to hear from employers first hand... you now can! During Autumn 2020, hosted 8 LIVE Virtual Events packed with different employers, sharing exclusive tips and company-specific insights for students. If you missed it then, catch up here.

#3 Get AHEAD of the January job deadlines

This month is a busy one. Not only are universities cramming exam and coursework deadlines into this month, but lots of job deadlines are also fast-approaching.

Don't miss out on any work experience opportunities. Search and apply for hundreds of job opportunities before they disappear. And don't forget to customise your job search by industry, work experience type and location.

If you have a FREE account, you can also save jobs for future reference, that way, you won't miss a thing. (But be aware of imminent deadlines).

Getting organised is the best way to make sure you stay on top of things. To support you, we've made this FREE downloadable spreadsheet to Organise Your Work Experience Search

#4 Get your CV looking SPICY

Every single job application you submit will involve writing and sending a CV. That means for every job you apply for, your CV will be compared to hundreds of others. That's some serious competition.

It might sound daunting. But if your CV is looking spicy, you'll be a solid competitor. Here are THREE top tips to get your CV whipped-up and in shape...

  • Personalise your CV. Don't just add every bit of experience and every skill you have. Instead, make it relevant to the company's values, or the skills listed in the job description.
  • Provide evidence of your successes - don't just list your roles. For example, 'I achieved a 43% increase in event attendance year-on-year for a university event I managed, budgeted and marketed' sounds A LOT better than 'I was an event manager for my university society.'
  • Use exciting buzzwords to constantly demonstrate your achievements e.g. coordinated, achieved, delivered, transformed, innovated, inspired sound much better than writing 'I did X...'

#5 Learn how to deliver a KILLER interview

Interviews can be daunting. But they're the perfect opportunity for you to dazzle an employer by showing your authentic self, sharing your skills and convincing them that you can deliver results.

Nowadays, interviews are going virtual. But the good news is that things haven't changed much. You can still expect similar interview questions and the same expectations around formality, but you won't have to leave the house. Learn How to Ace Your Video Interview In Just 10 Minutes.

To prepare for a video interview, remember to get familiar with the tech side of things. Make sure you have downloaded all appropriate software in advance of the interview, have a stable Wi-Fi connection, and that your audio and video settings are enabled on whichever device you plan to use.

(And don't be a fool... make sure your laptop/ computer is fully charged.)

Once you've read the blog on acing your video interview, you'll want to start preparing for the next stage of the application process (usually the final stage)... the ASSESSMENT CENTRE.

Here's your one-stop guide: Virtual Assessment Centres: Everything You Need to Know to Prepare

It's still early in 2021. But just imagine... in a few weeks time, you could have some solid work experience secured and a feeling of real accomplishment. Now THAT would be dreamy. 

Why wait? Get your new year kicked off with a bang.