No two university courses are the same. Some offer highly practical training and compulsory work experience, while other provide strong theoretical frameworks from which to develop your experience. To succeed in the workplace after university you need a strong mix of both theory and experience.
Most university students have part time or casual jobs to support themselves while they study. Instead of just sticking your retail or menial labour job, why not start applying for part time roles in the industry that you are studying in. It may take a while to find an employee willing to take on an inexperienced undergraduate, but you can keep working your old job while you apply so there’s no harm in trying. Keep reworking your resume and approach businesses that you admire for work.
Short term internships are also extremely beneficial to undergraduates. It make seem like a sacrifice, particularly with your finances dwindling due to having to cut back on work, but the experience you gain will help you immeasurably when you start looking for jobs. Look for internships over your mid year or end of year break.
If you can, join the industry body that governs the industry you want to work in. You can easily find these by searching the internet or asking your lecturers for information. These bodies will keep you updated about what’s happening in your industry and may even have regular networking events that you could attend. Don’t underestimate the power of making connections in the industry. If you can demonstrate such enthusiasm and focus as an undergraduate, it won’t be long until your snapped up by someone in your network of contacts.
Approach your studies seriously. If you have the ability to achieve high marks in your subject, you should work hard to get these. Some industry employers are very interested in you academic transcript and want to see that you are able to apply yourself. Good marks can make a great impression on a potential employer. Couple this with eagerness to enter the industry and you will have a winning combination.