Our Career Timeline tells you what you should be doing and when to plan your career and make yourself more employable while you're at university.
Before you do anything else, login to My Career Zone and set your preferences - this is our online system that allows you to track your Exeter Award and Exeter Leaders Award progress; browse and book events and skills sessions; look for casual and part-time work; find internships and graduate-level opportunities; and explore our factsheets, resources and FAQs. Click on the coloured bars to reveal more information about each stage.
Engage with employability opportunities delivered through your course
There will be lots of employability opportunities delivered through your degree programme that you should engage with during years one and two. These might be talks from University of Exeter alumni who graduated with your degree about their careers, presentations from companies in relevant industries or sectors, or skills sessions delivered on campus. Keep an eye out for these types of events in your course newsletters and in My Career Zone.
Complete the Exeter Award
The Exeter Award is an achievement award for current undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. It's designed to give you recognition from the University of Exeter for the activities you are participating in outside of your studies, such as:
- Attendance at skills sessions and training courses
- Facilitating sporting and musical activities
- Engagement in work experience and voluntary work
Completing the Exeter Award can really boost your CV and help you develop a range of skills to take forward into the world of work. You can complete the award at your own pace, but it's a good idea to make a start while you're in your first year. See How to achieve the Exeter Award to find out more.
Begin exploring career options
Starting to look at possible careers can be a daunting experience, but there are plenty of resources to help you:
- The Prospects Career Planner is designed to help you narrow down your options by matching your skills, personality and interests to various careers.
- Many students find it useful to see what graduates with their subject have gone on to do - the What can I do with My Degree? section of the Career Zone website lists the destination of University of Exeter students, in each discipline, 6 months after graduation and includes links to relevant employment sector information pages.
- Talking to people who are currently working in the industry you're interested in is the best way to get an idea of what it's really like day-to-day. Many Exeter graduates are happy to give career advice to current students and our Exepert scheme has been set up to help you contact alumni relevant to your career aspirations. You could also receive long-term support, advice and networking opportunities from a mentor in our pool of alumni through our Career Mentor Scheme.
- Finally, get yourself along to our Careers fairs in the Autumn term to meet top graduate employers.
Join clubs and societies
For many students, joining a club or society is a very important part of University life, it will also show employers that you are motivated, not afraid to get stuck-in and can work as part of a team. Getting involved with running a club or society, (or even starting your own!) is even better. Visit the Students Guild and Athletic Union websites to find out about the huge range of clubs and societies available at the University of Exeter.
Gain work experience, paid or voluntary work
Many employers simply will not be interested in candidates without some form of work experience or work-related learning, and years one and two are good times to do this without the pressure of final exams and deadlines. You can find part-time jobs and voluntary opportunities in My Career Zone. You can also find paid, part-time work on campus through our Student Campus Partnership (SCP) scheme and with local companies through the Student Business Partnership (SBP) scheme. You could also apply for Access to Internships fund to help you secure a paid internship placement.
Develop your employability and career management skills
The first time you apply for a graduate level job you're likely to be faced with several challenges that you may not have come across before, such as
- writing a CV and covering letter,
- attending an assessment centre,
- psychometric testing,
- the dreaded panel interview!
These might sound scary, but you should view them as opportunities to show yourself in the best possible light. We offer a range of training sessions and resources to help you develop skills in these areas so you feel prepared and experienced when you start applying for jobs. See the Skills training and events section of our website for further details.
Consider picking up a language
or a year abroad
Did you know, 65% of graduate employers think that candidates with international work experience are more employable? Many recruiters are keen to hear from applicants with language skills and a knowledge of other cultures. Our Global Employability Team can help you find international work placements and co-ordinate global employer presentations, drop-ins and employability skills workshops. See our Global employability web pages to find out more.
Enhance personal and professional skills
There are many attributes that employers actively seek when selecting candidates, these include: team work, listening skills, numeracy, problem solving, managing people, communication, project management, presentation skills, enterprise, leadership and networking.
You'll gain experience in many of these as part of your degree, but the Career Zone also provides specific skills sessions that will help you in these areas – check out the My Career Zone events listings on our Skills for the workplace web page.
Research graduate level employment and further study
It might feel early, but throughout your second year you should be considering what you'll do after graduation. This could include researching specific companies in the sectors you're interested in and finding out what criteria they look for in potential employees, or thinking about where you'd like to live; the south west, London, or perhaps overseas. You might consider becoming self-employed (about 2% of UK graduates do after graduation), if so, there are lots of ways the University of Exeter can support you in this.
Many Exeter graduates are happy to talk to current students about their jobs and how they got into them. Our Exepert scheme has been set up to help you contact alumni relevant to your career aspirations and you could also receive long-term support, advice and networking opportunities from a mentor in our pool of alumni through our Career Mentor Scheme (second year only).
Further study is a popular choice for University of Exeter graduates, so this is a good time to start researching different courses and options, see our web pages on Choosing Postgraduate study for more information.
It might be that you'd like to take a gap year before you go into employment, but rather than just sitting on a beach in Thailand for 6 months, include some work experience or volunteering to boost your CV too.
Apply for internships
Gaining an internship is perhaps the most important element you can add to your CV in order to gain a good job after graduation. Most large graduate recruiters offer summer internships to undergraduates, usually to students in their penultimate year. Closing dates for applications tend to be very early in the academic year, so it's vital to apply early. Competition can be fierce and you'll often need to apply directly to companies as their internship schemes won't be advertised anywhere else.
The University of Exeter organises paid internship schemes to students and graduates – check out the Internships section of our website for details.
Apply & attend interviews for graduate level employment
Many students secure graduate jobs during their final year at University, and if you want to hit the ground running with top employers then you need to be on the ball straight away. We can help you by looking at your CV, covering letter or application and by helping you prepare for the interview itself. Check out our CVs, applications, interviews webpages for more information and, if you’d like extra help, please get in touch.