Gain work experience
Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.
You have plenty of options open to you. You could work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration. You could also improve your skills and experience by undertaking some freelance work, entering competitions, forming a collective or applying for commissions.
The University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.
Consider an artist residency
An artist residency gives you a specific period of time, away from your usual distractions, during which you can engage in reflection, exploration, research and possibly discover new ways of working. No two residences are the same and can vary in terms of length, location and exhibition collaborative opportunities. To find out more visit: www.resartis.org/en/
Clubs and societies
Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.
You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to your studies or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.
Tutor and academic support
Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.