Final Year: Balancing study and job hunting

Final year is a busy time for students. The increased study and assignments workload coupled with the usual extracurricular activities leaves little time for much else (well, maybe some time!).

However, an additional consideration for final year students is their career path post-graduation. For some, a year travelling may be on the cards and job hunting may not be a top priority. For others, it will be a niggling concern and, with many graduate employers looking for applications early, there will likely be an overlap between your studies and your job hunt.

The balancing act of dedicating enough time to your studies to obtain a good degree while identifying a good graduate role can be tricky in your final year. At Cruncher, we’re well versed in helping students solve this conundrum. Here are some of our top tips for you to consider.

  1. Sit down and set your goals
    Consider what you want from your degree (i.e. your final grade). Have you an ideal graduate job in mind, or are you flexible about your next steps? What do employers look for regarding minimum grades (tip: take a brief look at roles currently advertised)? Are there important subjects that employers may focus on for your role (e.g. for accounting roles, employers may focus on your grades in those subjects in particular)?
  2. Keep a structured week
    Many final year timetables can be light on hours. Some students even have entire days off! While that might sound great, laziness can creep in when there is little structure or routine so make a plan for each week in terms of days for study/assignments and days for job hunting/applications.
  3. Be focused in your search
    Many students searching for graduate roles don’t think enough about what they actually want before they begin their search. This can result in a lot of time wasted on roles they don’t really want or aren’t suited to. While you may have time over Christmas or summer to take this broader approach to your job hunt, during term-time you need to be focused in your approach. And don’t underestimate the time required for filling out applications or attending interviews for graduate roles!
  4. Utilise your peer group
    Most of your peers will be in a similar position, so talk to them and discuss the different opportunities, experiences and approaches in your respective job hunts. Peer support is a simple but often effective outlet for final year students.
  5. Prioritise, if needed
    If the balancing act becomes too much and you feel like things are slipping, focus on your studies and getting a good degree. The increasingly competitive graduate job market now sees a lot of firms requiring a 2.1 degree at a minimum, so achieving this should be your primary objective. Too much focus on your job search during term could be a false economy if it’s detrimental to your final degree result and subsequent attractiveness to graduate employers.

Happy studying and job hunting!