It’s easy enough to say that we are ‘all things ears’ but what does that actually entail? Audiology covers a range of diagnostic and rehabilitative work with both hearing and balance, across all ages. This means that a clinician in audiology could be working with adults, children, new born babies, the elderly and everyone in between.
And it is great preparation as an undergraduate student to start to develop your skills to be able to work with the range of people we see in audiology. The post will look at some advice and tips for how you can enhance your university experience to give you the head start once you graduate!
Job applications and interviews look for a type of person, especially when it comes to working in healthcare. Don’t view the tips below as a ‘tick-box exercise’ on top of your studies, but really get stuck into it – who knows, you may have fun along the way!
Your universities will have a range of clubs and societies, from sports, to culture, to adventure and everything in between. Try something new, or even set up one if you haven’t found what you’re looking for. You’ll not only meet new friends and learn new skills, but you’ll be able to show your experiences of leadership, communication and even team-working. Audiology is profession where you will predominantly be working with people, therefore you need to show you’re adaptable, friendly and encompass the range of qualities employers look for in an audiologist, hearing aid dispenser or clinician.
You could be in week one of first year, or in the last term of your final, but it’s always a great idea to sign up to audiology professional and registration bodies. You’ve got the BSA, BAA and BSHAA professional bodies, who all offer student memberships. You’ve also got registration bodies RCCP and HCPC where you can find information on registration and more.
Read the latest news, follow leaders and experts in your fields on Twitter, attend conferences; networking can really help and keeping your audiology game strong is only a bonus. Keeping up to date with advancements, policies and research in the field will help in both your application and interview stages when looking for jobs.
Volunteering and part-time jobs
There are plenty of charities and networks across the UK that work with, or advocate for, people with hearing and balance difficulties. Look to see if you can shadow or observe, or even sign up and take part. One charity that allows for volunteering with students is Action on Hearing Loss, with their support sessions. Here you can help provide advice and carry out basic hearing aid maintenance, but also a range of other activities - please check their website for volunteering opportunities and application processes.
Even if you aren’t able to physically volunteer with people, it can still be a cause to fundraise for, you’ll have learnt more about the difficulties people may face and how a charity or service can assist them.
Volunteering however doesn’t have to be only audiology related. As stated, audiology works will all ages across all backgrounds.
Again, if you have a part-time job, hone in what you’ve learnt and developed along the way. In retail you may have worked on your ability to work with difficult customers, or in catering, you’ve learnt how to be organised.
Visit your careers team
Your dedicated careers team will help look over your CV, usually with a fine tooth comb. Sometimes students don’t know what to include or know what is relevant. A part time job in retail? Very relevant. Winning a course award? Very relevant. An interest in travelling? Again, very relevant as employers want to get to know you as well as your academic and associated achievements.
They can also help with mock interview preparation to help ease your nerves, or discuss tactics to minimise them.
Keep an eye out for job adverts, both on NHS jobs, or in other sectors to see the example criteria they look for. This will be in both the terms of the job description, but also the person – this will give you an idea if there are any areas you need to brush up on.
Do your research
This isn’t just in relation to your dissertation or final year projects, but in terms of where you want to work. Audiology in itself has a range of career options so you need to decide where you see yourself and what appeals to you. You don’t have to wait until final year to decide this and your placements/experiences throughout the degree will help shape this, but essentially it’s never too early to start thinking about this.
If you have found a location or company etc. that you think you want to work in, explore it. Find out about the values of the company or what population lives near a particular hospital department. What tests do they carry out or what technology do they provide? These are the kinds of questions you can start asking now.
Think outside the box
This can mean a variety of things; in audiology you’ll have to think on your feet. You may encounter a patient who cannot see the battery drawer of a hearing aid, or can’t tell between the colours for left and right – what do you do? These are just some examples of what you may have to address, so being able to problem solve is a great skill! Again, having experiences to refer back to in your job interviews will make you stand out and show you’ve gone the extra mile.
Make the most of your time now and good luck with the applications!