July 15, 2014, by Beth Dawson

Five Last-Minute Ways to Gain Work Experience

Sometimes it seems like everyone but you has got an impressive work placement lined up, whether it’s volunteering in a spectacular location or climbing Kilimanjaro. 

Just because you haven’t got anything lined up for summer yet, it doesn’t mean that you’ve missed all the opportunities to get involved with projects and develop the skills employers are looking for.

To help you find ways to get the most out of your summer, we’ve compiled five ways to gain work experience when you’re lacking planning time. 

For volunteering activities, look local

Many local projects and events require volunteers to help them function and would be happy for contributions of your time. There may even be some local causes that need help with their marketing or website that will enable you to put the skills you’ve developed through your studies into practice.

You can approach local charity shops and organisations near you speculatively or use Do-It’s database of local volunteering centres to find one near where you are. These volunteer centres will be able to help you to find opportunities that suit what you’re passionate about and the skills you’re hoping to develop.

If you’re in Nottingham over summer, the Student Volunteer Centre’s website features both one-off and ongoing projects that you can get involved with,  through which you can develop a whole host of skills including teamwork, communication and events planning.

If you’re really stuck for time, there are also a range of micro volunteering opportunities available through the SVC. Micro volunteering can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour of your time and can consist of anything from analysing online data for Cancer Research to knitting jumpers for ex-battery hens, register your details with the SVC to get involved with these micro opportunities that can have a massive impact.

Step-up your extracurricular involvement

Whether it’s sports, art, theatre or something completely different you’re into, if you’re a member of a club, you have a good opportunity to take a position of responsibility.  To build up your transferable skills, ask the group leader or organiser whether you can lead a session, help setting up, or assist with any administration. Contributing in this way will also be a good example that you can take initiative.

Enter the blogosphere

Are you interested about developments in a certain industry? Do you have a passion that you could go on about for hours? Are you going abroad this summer and want to document your travels? Starting a blog could be your perfect opportunity to show off your range of ICT, written communication skills and eye for detail. Additionally, by making regular posts, your blog could also show an employer that you can stick to deadlines.

There are several sites you can go to in order to set up a blog for free, including Blogger and WordPress. Alternatively, you can use websites like Tumblr to microblog: a type of blogging where you publish shorter entries and repost content from others which demonstrates your interest in a specific sector or topic.

Learn something new

Just because you’re not studying over the summer, doesn’t mean that you have to get out of the habit of learning. Local colleges, universities and private institutions, such as New College Nottingham, offer short and one-off courses for adult learners to develop their skills.

Through taking short-term courses, you could learn skills that would make you more desirable to an employer. For example, if you keep seeing that a working knowledge of a certain IT programme is requested on a lot of job descriptions for a role you’re interested in, you could attend a workshop to help you improve your understanding. Additionally, if you have international ambitions, you could take a language class to make yourself a more appealing candidate to companies outside the UK.

Get temping

Summer brings festivals, sporting events and school holiday activities which are all opportunities for you to gain experience and money while you’re away from university.

Temporary work is great for those that are struggling for time. You can work for a few hours, a day, a week or as long as an opportunity allows. As many companies requesting a temporary worker will need to fill a position quickly for all sorts of reasons, the applications process for these kind of positions is generally shorter than for permanent positions.  From advertising to stewarding, you’ll find plenty of opportunities through Unitemps, our on-campus recruitment agency, who have vacancies available and are open over summer.

Still not sure what you can do this summer? See our work experience webpages to explore what types of opportunities are available to you. Also, to discuss what types of work experience, volunteering or other opportunities may stand you in good stead for the career you want to pursue, you can book an appointment with a member of our team through My Career

Posted in Applying For JobsGraduate VacanciesVolunteeringWork experience