Toiling through the reading lists is not the only way for students to make sure their degree is an asset in the job market. Employers today are just as interested in how graduates have spent their free time. This is the message of a new guide, What Do Graduates Do? 1997.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has collaborated on the publication with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit.
The publication, based on the largest ever survey of the fortunes of graduates in their first year out of higher education carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) last July, advises applicants to choose a subject that really interests them as they are unlikely to be trapped by their choice of degree subject in later life. "Graduate jobs" today are anything that a graduate does. The HESA survey found that 15 per cent of employed graduates start work in a secretarial or clerical role while they decide on a career.
Fiona Sandford, editor of the guide and a careers adviser at the University of Herefordshire, said a graduate's best bet is to be adaptable: "Most graduate employers are looking for good transferable skills, a good academic record and good work experience. But if you have a weakness in one of these, excelling in the others can compensate."