Age of Episodic Career
Recent university graduates seeking an early career must consider potential ways to differentiate themselves in a tough market. For the past century, citizens of most western countries have expected to spend their entire careers in a single field. This is no longer the norm. We’re now expected to go through multiple careers and sectors. Today, we live in “what experts call the age of the episodic career”.
The Students’ Onus to Shape Early Career
Although specialists are still in demand and of use, there has been a trend, especially in the US and UK, for recent graduates to not limit themselves to their one field of study. This trend has been around in the US for longer, as its higher education model has been offering both traditional university courses, as well as liberal arts degrees at smaller universities. A liberal arts education aims to create the ultimate well-rounded educated person, where the approach is interdisciplinary, covering topics within both humanities and sciences. Although this definitely helps develop students’ ability to think critically, students are aware that they require skills above those learned in their studies for the job market. So, most students are expected to work on campus or lead activity groups, and even summer internships to gain these professional skills.
UK’s Changing Approach to Early Career Training
Heads up! The UK is starting to shift in this direction too. But perhaps not for the same reasons. Although similar ‘well rounded’ education also exists in the UK, the push towards enhancing your degree with extracurricular activities is gaining momentum due to severe competition with other university level applicants. Examples of this can be seen in the competitiveness of graduate schemes, where large companies in the UK run selective professional training programmes during university years or after graduation. According to The Good Schools Guide UK, “places on these desirable schemes are highly contested with around 1000 applicants for each place”.
The Guardian also recently ran an article discussing the increasing realisation that “focusing on entry to university is not enough”, as today academic achievements no longer guarantee a good job. Our careers advisors and consultants, including our director, Tania Khojasteh would definitely agree with this testament! Some companies like ours and London universities are taking a proactive approach to help. So, beyond an amazing degree which teaches critical thinking and writing skills, professional skills are a whole other school of thought, to be gained.
Mind the Gap Between Degree and Career
To support university students to become more career ready, Queen Mary University of London for example aims to offer extra-curricular opportunities to enhance professional skills. This shows that the first steps towards remedying the gaps recent graduates may have, is beginning in the UK. For now, the best solution to assure that recent graduates are prepared for their careers is to help them develop skills beyond their degree.
At Uber Tutors, we are also quite aware of this gap and as a one stop education and early careers service, we provide mentors and consultants that teach these professional skills and help students find ways to enhance their CV and secure a job.
Contact us if we can be of support and service in advising and job application consulting. Call or email 02030867311 or firstname.lastname@example.org