June 20, 2014, by Beth Dawson
This summer look further than the beach!
This week, you may have been onto campus to collect your results and are looking forward to exams, essays and revision becoming a distant memory as you enjoy some hard-earned relaxation. However, summer isn’t all about relaxing, it’s also a good time to be proactive and gain experiences that will increase your employability.
In applications and interviews, employers often ask what else you have been involved in beyond your degree. So it might be helpful to think about how you can make the most of having a bit more time over summer and get involved with activities that will enhance your skills and kick-start your career. If you need some inspiration here are some of the ways to get more out of your summer.
Go from the library to the workplace
Work experience can come in a variety of forms, such as taking an internship, work shadowing or having a part-time or temporary job. You can gain insight into a workplace environment and develop wide variety of desirable skills, whatever you choose to do. Look on My Career, in local newspapers and on online job boards to find opportunities . To find work experience related to your chosen sector, see the resources listed on our types of jobs pages.
Don’t forget that there’s more out there than may be advertised. Although many deadlines for larger vacation schemes have closed, you can still apply speculatively for opportunities locally and in smaller companies.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are often willing to take on students over the summer and value the support they can provide, but don’t have the time or budget to advertise their opportunities. So don’t be afraid to approach people and ask. Plus, this demonstrates a good use of initiative, which is a characteristic employers are keen to see in potential candidates.
Let your inner good Samaritan out
Volunteering is a win-win situation, you gain experience and the charity gains practical support!
You could simply help out in a local charity shop, or you could offer your specialist skills that a charity needs, but can’t afford to hire in. For example if you’ve got a high standard of IT skills, you could offer to develop an organisation’s website. Alternatively, one fun way to volunteer is as a steward at a festival, large charities often recruit for summer dates and there’s still time to apply.
Travelling can be a great way of broadening your horizons and developing the level of cultural awareness that employers, especially those that deal in international markets, look for. If your budget allows, the world is your oyster! But if money is tight, travel within the UK or nearby European destinations can provide just as many opportunities for personal development. Also, planning your trip can demonstrate a high standard of organisational skills.
Perseverance and determination are really important qualities and are essential to most graduate roles, so it can be really helpful to get into the habit of setting yourself goals that make you step outside your comfort zone. Remember, it’s not all about mountain climbing and marathon running, you can learn a new language, take a short course, fund raise for charity and much more!
We’re open all summer, so if you want some careers advice, top tips for applications or a CV review, be sure to stop by. If you’re not based in Nottingham, we can still help you!
Get in touch with us and we can arrange for you to have a careers appointment over the phone or by Skype.
If you want more information about where you can find opportunities for over the summer visit our part-time and vacation work, extracurricular activities, volunteering and internships webpages. You can also book an appointment with a careers adviser, who can inform you about what you can do this summer to contribute towards your career ambitions.