set objectivesMany final year students tell us they wish they’d been more proactive in planning their career early in their degree and done more to make the most of their time at Imperial. Your first year is an important time to make friends and discover new things, it’s a great time to start the career planning process too, but don’t lose focus, you’re here to study and the exam results do count!

Below are our top tips on how to make the most of your first year. Following these tips will help you explore your career options and provide a solid foundation to a successful future. You may want to set some SMART targets in relation to these as discussed in the section setting objectives.

Top tips for 1st year undergraduates

Set up a JobsLive account

JobLive is our online jobs, appointments and events system. You’ll need to activate your account and set preferences on what updates you want to receive. You can amend your preferences as you progress through College and your career needs change. Further details can be found at JobsLive. **Please note that in your first year you cannot access JobsLive until the first day of term.**

Explore what you can do with your degree?

The skills you develop over the next few years will open up a wide variety of career options and your first year is a great time to explore these. Ignite your ambition by:

Assess your skills

You may already have a lot of experiences but now is a great time to start recording them, identify any gaps and figure out how your time here can help fill any voids. Check out our Know yourself webpage for further details on how to assess your skills.

Extracurricular activities

The academic pressures increase in later years so now is a fantastic time to explore the range of opportunities presented by the Imperial College Union and make the most of your first year! With over 340 clubs, societies and sports teams getting involved is a great way to meet new people, try something new and explore what you are capable of doing.

  • Push yourself – try something you’ve never done before. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out as future employers love to hear about times when you’ve bounced back from a setback and shown resilience.
  • Collaborate – seek out opportunities where you can work with others toward a specific result and you’ll be able to demonstrate teamwork.
  • Take Control – representing your peers as a course rep or taking on a position of responsibility in a society can be a great way to develop leadership and communication skills.
  • Have fun – track down like-minded people and enjoy your time at Imperial. University isn’t all about lab work, essays, exams and deadlines.

Broaden your Horizons

The Imperial Horizons programme is designed to broaden your education, inspire your creativity and enhance your professional impact. There are many courses on offer covering Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences. You might want to learn a language, gain an understanding of philosophy, explore science fiction or develop business, innovation and entrepreneurship. Check out Imperial Horizons for more details.

Prepare a CV

Your CV is your unique marketing document. It’s unique to you and it should be unique to the role you are applying to. It is used to highlight your relevant skills and experiences for a potential job or role. You may already have a CV but you’ll need to replace older activities with new experiences and achievements as you progress through your degree and make sure you match your skills to those on a job description or person specification. Check out our Application Process webpages for more details or attend one of our workshops via JobsLive.

Attend our events, workshops & seminars

Each year we host hundreds of events and interactive workshops covering all steps of the application process as well as themed career weeks, careers fairs and forums. These are excellent opportunities to meet with a variety of recruiters from many organisations. All events are advertised on JobsLive.

Social Media & Networking

Social Media is a great way to stay connected with friends but make sure you protect your identity and lock profiles that contain your personal life. This will permit you to establish an online professional brand from which you can explore career options and forge connections with companies and their employees. LinkedIn is one of the largest professional social media platforms. It can help you find graduates from your programme, browse online CVs and search for vacancies. It’s a great way to generate ideas on possible careers too. Check out LinkedIn’s student resource for hints and tips on how to make the most of the platform or attend one of our LinkedIn campus events via JobsLive. You can also keep up to date on our latest news via @imperialcareers on Twitter or /imperialcareersevents on Facebook.

Plan ahead

As well as thinking about what careers sectors and jobs interest you, it’s worth asking questions about which second year module options and research topics best align to your career future. Many of the academic departments have well establish career programmes and employability tutors. It’s worth attending departmental events or holding a discussion with your tutor about your options.