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Five top tips for career contentment

  1. Grab those chances! Work placements and internships can offer an invaluable chance to ‘try before you buy’ and give you an opportunity to impress a potential employer, which can give you an advantage over the other candidates. If you’re on a work experience placement or internship, make sure you know your rights surrounding pay.
  2. Be persistent! If there are no opportunities for work experience available, try to create some. Find the name of someone at the place you’re interested in working at and write to them or email them to see if you can come in, and talk to your teachers, friends and relatives to see whether they have any connections in the industry.
  3. Be professional! From how you look to how you express yourself, remember that potential employers will be considering you from all kinds of angles. This includes having a professional-sounding email address and, increasingly, making sure there’s nothing that could put an employer off on your public social media pages. This doesn’t mean you have to be bland, though – you can still let your personality, enthusiasm and intelligence shine through!
  4. Don’t just like it, do it! Try and make whatever it is that gets you excited – writing, gardening, baking, engineering, volunteering – part of your personal life if it isn’t already. For example, if you apply for a writing job, one of the best things you can have is a varied portfolio of articles (for example for a school paper), a blog (but make sure it has more than one post!) and examples of how you find opportunities to write in everyday life. Remember, anyone can say they love something. How can you show it?
  5. It’s not just about your perspective! When you’re applying for jobs or courses, it’s easy to talk about how you’ll benefit from the opportunity. That is important, but put yourself in the shoes of the people selecting a candidate. What will they get from you working or studying there? What skills, characteristics and experience can you provide?

Lead image:

GotCredit/Flickr CC BY

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Careers From Biology’ in June 2012 and reviewed and updated in November 2017.

Careers From Biology
Education levels:
16–19, Undergraduate, Continuing professional development