UCL Careers top tips to maximise your employability

2 December 2020

Being able to stand out from the crowd and maximise your employability is really important. UCL Careers have put together their top tips to ensure you're your most employable self.


Get involved and get experience

Simply put, getting stuck in is the best way to build your confidence and skills. Getting experience can be anything from volunteering to internships, whether virtual or physical.

Experience and a willingness to learn new things won’t just give you another thing to put on your CV (although it will do that too!), it will help you figure out which roles, sectors and companies suit your values and skills. Just as importantly, meeting professionals at work will help you understand what skills you’ll need to excel in your field.

UCL Careers’ online platform myUCLCareers is the best place to start looking for curated and exclusive jobs for UCL Students all year-round.

Volunteering opportunities, such as those sourced through Students’ Union UCL are another great way to get insight into charity sector roles while giving back to the community. Other great options and advice for gaining experience can be found on our website.

Reflect on the skills you already have

Don’t underestimate the skills you already have (you probably have more than you think you do!). One of the most important things you can learn is how to identify your skills and communicate them to employers. Even just doing your university course will provide you with skills such as independent working, research and time management (hopefully!), to name just a few.

Any extra-curricular activities or experiences you do will only add to this arsenal. Volunteered for a charity event? You might have skills in event management and logistics. Worked as a virtual intern doing social media? Digital marketing and public engagement. Worked in a restaurant or bar? Teamwork and customer service. The list goes on...

It’s important to remember that no one starts out as an experienced professional. Sometimes you might not realise which skills you’re developing until afterwards, but by staying reflective, you’ll be able to give your experiences the justice they deserve. Whenever you think of one, write it down, including its context. Then, when it comes to it, you’ll be able to add it to your CV and cover letters.

Do the research

Researching sectors, employers and roles has two main benefits. First, it will help you demonstrate interest and knowledge in the sector and second, it will help you tailor your applications for each role - both things that employers love.

It’s sometimes said that no two applications should be the same, and with enough research, you’ll never want to copy and paste again! Of course your experiences will be the same, but once you understand the company and role better, you’ll be able to tailor your examples and applications to demonstrate your knowledge of their work and how you’ll fit in in their culture and values.

There’s several ways to research employers, beyond digging through their website. Social media is increasingly used by organisations to show what their up to and demonstrate their values. Even researching a company's competitors can show you what makes your target different and will help you demonstrate awareness of the sector.

LinkedIn is another way to keep in the loop with news about developments in a sector and can even allow you to reach out to individuals that work there. Contacting an employer directly can be daunting at first, but most are more than happy to give you advice on how to stand out. Not only does this give you great insights, it’s a fantastic demonstration of your enthusiasm. Similarly, the UCL Alumni Community has been set up to connect you with professionals, actively looking for enthusiastic students like yourself! What more could you ask for?

While on the topic of LinkedIn, it can be a good way to show off your skills and experiences to the wider community. You can kind of view it as an online CV, and it’s not uncommon for people to get offers from employers and recruiters through the platform. That being said, other social media accounts can do more harm than good! Make sure to review your privacy settings and clean up any publicly available content and it might be wise to separate your personal and professional accounts. You never know who might be reading!

Get support!

You’re never alone when it comes to improving your employability. UCL Careers is here to help you at every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to contact us over the phone, via email or book a one-to-one appointment. Whether you want to explore your optionsfind opportunities or apply, we will guide you to resources and opportunities to help you find your future.

Find out more about how UCL Careers can support you or visit our website.

Last revised: 8 September 2021.

Skye Aitken, Marketing Communications Manager, UCL Careers