August 14, 2015, by Laura Estrop

Five top tips for making the most of your summer (from the comfort of your own home)

By Joanne Gregory, Employability Officer 

With a headline like this, no-one is denying you should be spending some time enjoying the (somewhat unpredictable) sunshine, but there’s a few other ways you can fill your time over the summer months which should make your CV shine too!

  1. Learn to code

coding

It’s not just the tech savvy amongst us who can benefit from learning to code. If you’re looking for a career in the creative industries, in particular publishing, marketing or advertising, even some basic coding skills will give you an edge when you’re applying for jobs and internships. Although graduate vacancies on the whole are on the rise, many employers are struggling to fill vacancies because of a lack of skills, one of which is knowledge of coding. You can learn to code for free and at your own pace. Popular sites include teamtreehouse.com codeacademy.com and codeavengers.com.

Photo: Stock Snap

  1. Do a free online course

Online course

Whether you want to want to capitalize on your studies, fancy learning something new or want to write your first song (date to be announced for all you budding Taylor Swifts!) signing up for a free online course can enhance your existing knowledge, plug any gaps on your CV and even prepare you for job applications. Courses last from a few days to a few weeks and are offered by hundreds of universities around the world. Check out sites such as FutureLearn which showcase all the many courses available. At the moment, this includes introductions to Journalismexploring our oceans, and gaming.

Photo: John Keane – Jan 3: Home Straight

  1. Get Analytical

Seo

Ever wondered how certain websites get to the top of Google? (Other search engines are available). Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – making sure an organisation’s website is the number one ranking on search engines – is big business, many companies don’t have the budgets to employ someone full-time for this, meaning graduates who know how to write properly for search engines are highly sought after. These skills can be learned for free on sites such as Google Analytics while SEO sites such as Moz.com and Search Engine Round Table will keep you up to date on the latest changes and updates which may affect a websites ranking and how many people visit the site. Learning these skills comes in super handy especially if you’re thinking about a job in the digital industries, running your own business or want to work in business intelligence.

Photo: Firm Bee

  1. Network

networking

It’s well known that employers in many industries now take to social media sites in order to vet potential employees and it’s a fair bet that they won’t find that beer-fest shot quite as much fun as you did. Taking the time to make sure your personal life stays private is a savvy move. Facebook in particular is seen as a more personal site so make sure it stays that way by checking your privacy settings are set to friends only. Start using social media to your advantage by following companies you like on Twitter and join relevant groups and chat to people on LinkedIn. This can help to secure work experience and tailor your applications with a more personal approach.

  1. Make your ideas a reality

Cake

Do you find yourself shouting at the TV or muttering at your Twitter feed over seemingly ludicrous government policies or new products that you feel you could improve on? Maybe you have your own creative ideas about how to solve social problems or business solutions? Entrepreneurial thinking is based around creative problem solving, looking at problems from a different point of view and focusing on the optimal solution rather than just the acceptable. Whether you have an idea for a business, the time you get over summer could be ideal to explore these ideas. Sites such as crowdfunder can help you to gauge interest in your ideas and also raise funds to make them become a reality. You can get ideas on how to get support and inspiration whilst you are here from our very own Ingenuity Lab.

Photo: Charles Hutchins – Boxes of cakes

If you would like more information about the best ways to make the most of your free time, have a look at our website. You can always book an appointment with a careers adviser if you would like more specific information.

Photo: Startup Stock Photos 

Posted in Career adviceEntrepreneurshipNetworkingYour ambitions