GUEST BLOG: Increasing Your Employability: Tips from a Recent Graduate


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Sophie Chadwick (University Outreach Coordinator at STEM Graduates) chats to Zoe Craig, University of York, 2014 BSc (Hons) Biology Graduate, about how she improved her employability.

STEM Graduates are a recruitment agency who recruit specifically for full time, permanent graduate job roles in the STEM sector. They also provide graduate careers advice.

What are you doing now?

“I have been working as a Data and Laboratory Clinical Research Intern at a Clinical Research Facility for a year and have just gained a new job as a Data Manager for clinical trials.”

Did you do anything to improve your employability whilst studying?

“I had a part time job at a university cafe and took part in the dance society, this gave me transferable skills such as team work and time management.”

Our top tips: You don’t have to do things purely related to your degree to improve your employability. Involvement in societies, volunteer organisations and your student union will all provide you with skills useful in employment. These skills will also show employers that you have used your time at university productively. For University of York students, all of these things can contribute to the York Award; an award designed to develop your skills for the working world and one that is highly valued by employers. 

Did you do any professional placements? 

“Yes, I took up an internship at the University of Exeter Medical School undertaking clinical research duties relating to diabetes. My internship this year has boosted my employability by giving me experience in the area I want to work in and as a result helped me secure my new job.”

Our top tips: Get yourself out there! Apply to internships and placement programs as these really do bridge the gap between studying and working in a sector. Signing up to a recruitment agency will provide you with guidance and support throughout the employment process and some agencies, such as ourselves, will be able to offer advice that is tailored to your specific sector needs.

What did you use the Careers Service for?

“I kept up to date with the University of York careers blog as it had some really good tips and opportunities on it. I also attended Careers fairs held by the Careers Service to meet with potential employers and work on my networking skills.”

Our top tips: Take full advantage of your Careers Service during your time at University, and even after. They are able to help you to make important plans and decisions and provide knowledgeable advice. Practically, they can improve your CV and offer one-to-one careers appointments to help you perfect your interview skills – including practice interviews. It’s important to make the most of this resource as knowing how to prepare for an interview sufficiently and present yourself well is crucial.

Do you have any advice for current students on how to improve their employability?

“Get involved as much as possible in productive activities so you are able to provide evidence for the skills you say you have. Try to get some experience, even if just for a day, in the job area you are looking to enter.”

To register on our website or browse our advice and graduate jobs visit