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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

From First to Third Year

Your time here at Durham will give you plenty of opportunity to develop yourself, build your skills and help you decide what you want to do with your life – but to make the most of it, start now!

This section gives you broad suggestions on what you could be doing during your time here.

Year 1

A degree is not enough to make you stand out from your contemporaries. Employers want you to show that you used your student years to best advantage. What are you doing about that – joining clubs or societies, volunteering, part-time work, work experience, student media, drama productions, performances?

What are you learning about yourself and other people from your academic work and other areas of life as a student? We call that graduate attributes. Where do you feel you’re at, in terms of working towards your future career?

Get to know the careers website here at Durham, and the range of 24/7 support and information you can use.

Check out what recent graduates from your course are doing now. Great for ideas!

What experience would you like to gain? Look out for vacation schemes and work experience now – it’s a good time to try new things and build experience related to your aspirations. Use our online careers information and websites such as Prospects to find out what is required in career areas. Take a look at the downloadable resource linked on our Internships page regarding Spring Weeks and Insight Days - providing work experience opportunities specifically for first year students.

Use the Easter break and summer break between second and third year to make a change, and to show employers that you can go out of your comfort zone and be proactive. Have a think about a range of summer opportunities that you can get involved in – an internship, going abroad, changing to a different kind of part-time work to see a different kind of business.

Year 2

What are you learning about careers, business/industry and about yourself from your part-time work and other activities? What are you gaining through society and voluntary activity? What are you enjoying most about your programme of study – and what skills are you developing?

Review where you think you’ve got to in terms of working towards your future career? What are you going to do next? Do you need to talk things over with a member of the careers team?

Have you updated your CV and LinkedIn profile?

Year 3 (or 4)

Some of you will be returning from a year abroad or industry placement. Have you reflected on how this has changed you, what skills, experience and understanding you’ve developed? Have you captured this in your CV and LinkedIn profile?

How well have you researched the job areas you’re most interested in, and what about research into other career options? Are you still unsure? If so, book an appointment to see a Careers Adviser.

Have you registered on the Student Services Portal and identified other sources of new graduate vacancies?

Are your CV and LinkedIn profile nicely up to date – and congruent with each other?

Are you organised and ready to make applications to advertised graduate positions, and to network and make speculative applications?

How ready are you to handle interviews and assessment centres?

Finished your course?

We’re still here for you!

Keep building your experiences through work, further study, gap years, challenging and developmental activities. Look out for opportunities, be creative, keep open minded and remember that a career develops and twists and turns in the modern world.