Get ready for you future career

Last changed: 22 November 2017
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What job opportunities are available to me during my studies? Should I apply for a job, take up research, start my own business or focus on an international career?

The answers to these questions depend on who is asking. Your job opportunities develop while you are still studying, through the choices you make and changes on the labour market. You can prepare yourself through developing your proficiency by planning, setting yourself goals and steering your career the way you want it to go.

Map your skillset using Career guide

Use your time at university to reflect on yourself and on what a career means to you. Your skillset includes your subject knowledge, general proficiency, experiences and your personal qualities and the things that drive you. Use Career guide to help put into words who you are, what you want and what you can do. You are welcome to use Career guide throughout your time here and to help with job applications before writing your CV and cover letter.

Making valuable contacts

Your time at university provides an excellent opportunity for you to prepare for your future career by trying out new things and making lots of contacts. You can then highlight your experiences outside your studies in your CV when applying for a job. Here are a few tips on what you can do to improve your chances of getting a job on completing your degree.

Make contacts and get to know the labour market

Your education links to your career through various activities, such as guest lectures, study visits, placements and degree project suggestions from employers outside the university. You should see all activities as an opportunity to start building up your career network while you are still studying. We also organise a range of meetings with employers, as well as industry evenings, alumni meetings and careers fairs.

By being proactive and asking questions, you will be able to chart your opportunities and get a better idea of ​​what qualifications are important for the job you want. The links to working life show you which job opportunities your programme can lead to. So you should see the activities as an important part of the preparation for your future career. They will give you both skills and contacts that you can actively use when it is time for you to look for a job.

Spend a semester or two studying abroad

As a student at SLU you have excellent opportunities to spend some of your study time abroad. Having international experience is important, both for your personal development and your future career. Language skills and knowledge of different cultures are in demand on an increasingly globalised labour market. Studying abroad could also open doors in the form of job opportunities and international contacts.

Get professional experience

Taking a summer job or part-time jobs during your time here will give you valuable experience – especially if you do not have much previous professional experience.  Even if you cannot find a job that is relevant to your programme, it is still worth doing. A job will always provide opportunities to learn, acquire proficiency and develop as a person. It will also give you contacts and references that you can use later.

Get involved in associations and organisations

Getting involved in student associations and student union work, for example, will give you the opportunity to work on communication and organisational issues. It will give you a great deal of practical experience, as you will be involved in organising careers fairs, implementing projects and other activities, as well as pursuing education issues. Getting involved in and outside your studies will also give you an important network for the future.

Write essays and degree projects at employers

During your studies you can specialise by taking advanced courses, going on placements or working with companies, organisations and public authorities on your degree project.  This not only gives you useful industry knowledge but is also a chance to show employers who you are and what you can do. Many students receive job offers after writing their degree project at a company.

 SLU CareerGate contains suggestions for degree projects from departments and research environments at SLU and from external employers. If you cannot see an assignment for your dream company, feel free to make contact with them yourself. This demonstrates your commitment and interest.

Career fairs

SLU’s career fairs are organised by students, usually by the students' unions and in some cases by individual degree programmes. Companies or organisations interested in participating are asked to contact the students' union responsible for the specific event.

Keep an eye out! More events and dates will be published later, as soon as the activities have been planned.

Starting a business

Are you thinking of starting up your own business? There are lots of resources and support services available while you are a student, so make the most of them!

Read more about the various national organisations that can support you if you want to start a business:

 

SLU Holding

SLU Holding  is a resource for all SLU students and employees who are interested in innovations.  They can answer your questions about business development and commercialisation of ideas and products. SLU Holding has its office in Uppsala, but its network enables it to offer students on all SLU's main campuses the same first-class service. Look out for SLU Holding activities near you!

Drivhuset

Drivhuset helps university students start and run businesses, or realise their visions in other ways. More information and a calendar of workshops and lectures can be found on the Drivhuset website  .

Swedish business link to government

A site containing information  about laws, rules, services and practical tips if you are thinking about starting a business. For instance, you can create a checklist for starting a business.

Start-up Line

Start-up Line is a free telephone service (020 35 10 10) that provides you with information and guidance if you are planning to start a business or have recently done so.

Venture Cup

A business plan competition that aims to help you turn your business idea into reality. When you enter the competition you get, absolutely free, feedback, supervision, training and access to a large network of contacts. The competition begins in October and ends in April the following year. Find out more about Venture Cup on their website .

Almi Företagspartners

ALMI Företagspartner offers financing and advisory services for people who want to start a business. Contact your local ALMI company  (in Swedish only).

Swedish Tax Agency

The website of the Swedish Tax Agency  has everything you need to know and do when starting a business. It also offers a downloadable brochure entitled “Starting up a business ” that summarises the guidance of six different government agencies.

Nyföretagarcentrum

Nyföretagarcentrum offers free advice to those who want to start a business. Find your municipality on their website .

Vinnova

Vinnova is a government agency that reports to the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications. Their sphere of responsibility consists of innovation systems associated with research and development. Vinnova finances needs-driven research.Read more about Vinnova on their web site .

Innovationsbron

Innovationsbron works to turn research and innovations into businesses. They help to overcome the difficulties and risks involved in developing a business idea. Their objective is to accelerate growth in Swedish industry. Find out more about Innovationsbron on their website.

Industry experts and other advisers

These are all national organisations that can support you if you want to start a business. There are also many regional organisations, so do not forget to check out what is available in your municipality.

Do not forget that banks, accounting firms, patent agencies and insurance companies have advisers and industry experts who can help you start a business.

Doctoral programmes

Is there a specific subject that you would like to study at a more advanced level? If so, you might want to consider a doctoral programme, or PhD, programme.

What is a doctoral programme?

A doctoral programme is a four-year programme at advanced level that concludes with the degree of doctor. There is also a shorter two-year, third-cycle programme that concludes with the degree of licentiate. A degree of licentiate requires 160 credits, at least 60 of which must be based on an academic paper. A degree of doctor requires 240 credits, at least 120 of which must be based on the doctoral thesis itself. A degree of doctor is the highest academic qualification in Sweden.

Before you can start a doctoral programme, you must have an academic qualification and meet specific entry requirements. Your studies must also be financed. The financial terms that doctoral students are subject to vary greatly. The most secure way to pursue doctoral studies is to be employed as a doctoral student, but there are other types of financing as well:

  • Doctoral grants
  • Other employment at the university
  • Gainful employment with a certain amount of time reserved for doctoral studies
  • Scholarships
  • Other external financing

The Swedish Council for Higher Education has compiled a handbook for people who are considering or have already begun a doctoral programme. It contains information about your rights and obligations, as well as the terms to which you are subject during your doctoral studies. It also has a series of practical tips and recommendations. You can find the Doctoral student handbook here.

The road to a doctoral studentship

Apply for your doctoral studentship directly to the department where you want to study. If there is more than one qualified applicant for a studentship, they are ranked on the basis of their ability to benefit from the doctoral programme. This means that your previous study performance, such as your degree project, will be reviewed and assessed.

Tips

  • Establish contacts in the subject area that you want to take a doctorate in.
  • Be on the lookout for doctoral studentships on the SLU website
  • Interesting information about research and doctoral programmes is available at http://www.forskning.se/ (in Swedish only)

Read more about doctoral education at Slu. 

Page editor: utb-webb@slu.se