Student blogger – Priya Thakrar
I remember when I hit the age of 16. I’d be in town every Saturday handing my CV out to every shop I could – especially the clothing retail ones in hope of some store discount! I ended up working in a petrol station. Although I’d moan about this at the time, I now realise that the experience I gained from assisting in simple commerce such as on the till or shop floor has been vital to progressing my employability skills. It’s not that I’ve become an expert at sweeping the floor, more the dexterity I developed to enable me to adapt to different working situations. I believe that during university, it is vital to gain work experience, whether paid or not. The current economic situation has affected the job market hugely and employees may wake up one day finding themselves unemployed. Having a job whilst studying may save your overdraft a little; more importantly though, it will enable you to adapt to the professional environment and prepare you for the life that awaits after graduation (I can wait!)
During the upcoming weekend, I am participating in Manchester Jailbreak – a challenge where you have to get as far away from Manchester as you can in 30 hours… without paying a penny. I am raising money for KidsCan – a charity that funds research into children’s cancer. If you wish to donate a few pennies to KidsCan please visit www.justgiving.com/Priya-Thakrar. I emailed all the transit companies that leave the UK asking them to sponsor me or let me on a flight abroad for free. I’d be happy sitting in the luggage haul! They all said no. Now I’m sure they already donate a fair amount to their chosen charity each year, but I get constant junk emails like ‘WIN 2 FLIGHTS TO LA NOW!’. If airlines are happy to give free flights to a gambler who has enough time on his/her hands to fill out endless pages of useless information, why not help out a couple of broke students doing crazy challenges for charity? The answer is simple – RECESSION, RECESSION, RECESSION. I have been told that airlines were previously more generous and were willing to guarantee fundraisers a boarding pass. With this dire economic crisis that seems to have been around forever though, times are hard as we all know! The price for Sainsbury’s basics tortilla chips have gone up by 7p. The legendary £2 double VodBull at well-loved Robbos in Fallowfield is now £2.25. Students are complaining! More seriously though, the job market has been affected. We constantly hear stories on the news of large companies having to let masses of employees go. What is more depressing is that our generation has that to come. We will have to go out there into the big, bleak world and search for jobs. I get hot and sweaty rummaging around clothes in the Christmas sale. I have a feeling that the job-hunt may be a little more traumatic.
As our teachers used to bang on to us though – POSITIVE THINKING – THE GLASS IS HALF FULL, NOT HALF EMPTY – we are not all doomed! It is just that getting a leg into your preferred industry may now be more difficult. I have been told that employers are looking for that something extra that you’ve done. Not just one extra or two extras … but a list of extras. The Careers Service volunteering team at the University of Manchester regularly send out brilliant emails with heaps of opportunities for you to get involved in. It takes minimal effort to sign up and the results could be invaluable. If you are interested in receiving emails from them visit the volunteering pages of the Careers Service website.
They also distribute emails listing details of companies who are looking for students to employ for paid work. Although the general economic situation is dull (as is the Manchester weather as I sit here writing this wearing two hoodies to save on the electricity bill), there are still many employers out there seeking young, fresh, innovative thinking. That means you, you and you! All you have to do is email them your CV and wait for a response. I did and you can too. So visit the job hunting section of the Careers Service website and let me know how it goes.