I'm entering my penultimate year at university…

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3 min read
By Hannah Vernon
Media & Communications at Gradcracker

Get prepared over the summer

Before you start your penultimate year, it’s a good idea to start researching different industry sectors and employers; the Gradcracker Toolkit is a good place to begin. From this you can gather an idea of the types of career paths you might like to explore further – perhaps through a placement.

Use our Company Hubs to find your favourite employers and start building your Follow list to receive job alerts from companies you’d particularly like to work for. If you’re hoping to complete a summer or year-long placement, this will ensure you don’t miss out on any of the year’s action!

Sandwich students, get ready 

Some students will have the opportunity to complete a year-long placement between the penultimate and final year of their studies. If this applies to you, you’ll want to start applying to opportunities from the Autumn of the year before you intend to start your placement. (This will most likely be your second year at university.)

Reflect on what you'd like to achieve this year.

Last calling for summer interns

The summer after your penultimate year will be your last opportunity to complete a summer internship as an undergraduate. As with year-long placements, you’ll want to be applying to opportunities from the Autumn. This is a particularly good year to gain some work experience, as there’s a chance you could secure a full-time position with the company for when you graduate.

Set yourself some objectives

If you are planning on getting some work experience in the next year or so, I’d recommend having a think about what you’d like to get out of it. Perhaps there’s a certain skill you’d like to develop, or a topic you’d like to learn more about. Going into your placement with an idea of what you’d like to achieve will help you get the most out of the experience. 

Equally, there are plenty of other ways that you can progress aside from work experience. What can you do to take your understanding to the next level and improve your performance in assessments? You might also like to think about boosting your CV by joining a STEM society, if you haven’t already, and getting involved in extra-curricular activities, volunteering, or anything else that will help you demonstrate those all-important soft skills that will grab employers’ attention.

Prepare for final year 

Graduate opportunities will be open to you from the very beginning of your final year – so it’s important that you’re ready. The more career-planning you do now, the less pressure you'll be under in your final year, when you have to juggle job applications, final projects and exams.

Start thinking about what types of graduate positions you’d like to apply for. Have a look at the Graduate Jobs on Gradcracker to get an idea of what’s out there. 

Make sure you are following the companies you’d particularly like to work for once you graduate, and are receiving their graduate job alerts. While you might not be able to apply to graduate opportunities just yet, receiving alerts from your favourite companies will introduce you to the types of roles they offer.

You can update your alert preferences in your dashboard at any time, but it’s important that you are receiving graduate job alerts from your favourite employers before you enter your final year. This will ensure you don’t go unaware when these companies open their graduate vacancies, which is likely be from September onwards.

You can do this – best of luck!

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