In the words of my dad, “the characteristics employers look for during boom times are different from those in a recession.” With this in mind, how can you best spend your newfound time?
Incoming First-Year Student?
If you’ve been accepted to UCL, congratulations! We look forward to welcoming you into our vibrant community. It may feel like a chance to finally relax, but after your online graduation ceremonies and socially distanced celebrations, consider using time at home to research opportunities in London.
As an incoming second year student, I still remember the learning curve of my first year. London has so much to offer, but where should one start? I’d recommend reflecting on your previous experiences. What were your strengths? Where did you fall short? What areas do you want to explore? Choose three big goals you want to focus on throughout the year – let them be malleable, but also use them as guidance when you’re lost.
Keep in mind, some sectors require more research and awareness than others. There is so much on offer, and London’s saturation of universities can create stiff competition. For example, Spring Weeks (also known as Insight Weeks) within the Investment Banking sector are infamous for catching freshers off-guard: but with research and a bit of ambition, an incredible and insightful experience is within reach. Keep in mind, these opportunities are often provided on a first come first serve basis – so do your research and prepare your applications.
If eager to learn more about the corporate world, follow the UCL Guild’s Facebook pages to take part in webinars and online workshops. Find us here.
Second-Year Students and Onwards:
For current UCL students, similar tactics follow. Considering what you’ve achieved in your first year, where do you want to focus your energy? What felt right? Is there something you’d reconsider? Additionally: what industries are growing or declining as a result of Covid-19, and what does that mean for career opportunities? If you’d like structure for your career reflections, this guide on determining your future from the Yale careers office may be useful: https://ocs.yale.edu/get-advice/career-decision-making-process.
With this in mind, get sorted. Consider using applications like Notion, Todoist, Asana or Google Sheets to organize next year’s internship deadlines. Creating organizational habits and taking the time to learn about new interfaces will help when “normal” life starts again.
Moreover, if you’re impatient (like me), consider participating in online internships. UCL Guild recently launched a partnership with InsideSherpa. InsideSherpa provides an incredible range of programs customized by major firms such as BCG, Accenture, White & Case, among others. In fact, the UCL Guild has its own landing page with InsideSherpa, with our best program recommendations.
Finally, consider applying for mentorship. All five societies in the UCL Guild host mentorship programs, offering one-on-one support for careers in consulting, finance, or guidance in pursuing a start-up. If you’re aiming for internships or graduate schemes at prestigious firms, consider applying to one of these programs – application periods will be announced shortly.
For better or for worse, your career-path most likely won’t be clear cut. However, this was the case both now and before the coronavirus pandemic. It can take years to build that “perfect” resume for a dream job. Remember that preparation and acceptances go hand in hand – so use your lockdown time wisely. Take it easy on yourself, but stay proactive. The UCL Guild will support you every step of the way.
If you want more advice or have any questions, feel free to reach out through the “Contact Us” header above. We can’t wait to hear from you!