How to Boost Your CV While You Study | Top Universities

How to Boost Your CV While You Study

By Guest Writer

Updated June 23, 2015 Updated June 23, 2015

Guest post: Rylie Trott

The main reason many people decide to go to university is to widen their employment opportunities, and potentially guarantee a higher salary by obtaining a degree. However, as important as your degree will be when entering the working world, you will unfortunately not be the only one graduating. Upon leaving university, you will be competing for your first graduate job against the people you’ve been studying with and befriending over the past three years, as well as everyone else across the country who has graduated with the same qualification.

Due to the daunting prospect of finding a graduate job in a tough market, a lot of uni-leavers decide to delay this by remaining in education or studying abroad, volunteering or simply travelling. Whether or not you decide to continue your studies or begin your career immediately following your graduation, it is imperative that you ensure you make the most of your time at university to boost your CV and make yourself stand out in graduate job applications as the best candidate.

1. Get a part-time job

This suggestion may seem trivial, but by taking on a part-time job alongside your studies, you are showing potential employers that you are a motivated individual who can manage your time and find that crucial balance between achieving the grades you need, socializing and earning money to support both of these. When attending any careers events at university, there is always an emphasis on how to boost your CV through evidence of key transferable skills, including time management, planning, initiative and professional communication. These can easily be exhibited through simple acts such as organizing in-store events if you are working in a shop, being able to work in a team and working to deadlines.

The best thing about boosting your CV by getting a part-time job is that you are not only earning money to fund your nights out, but you will also be meeting fellow students to join you on them! Also, it can be easier than you think to link your degree and your part-time job. If you are studying media, film or television, you could work in a cinema and demonstrate your knowledge by taking a part-time job as a projectionist; if you are interested in fashion and design, you could work in a clothes shop and design the window displays; and if you study mathematics you could even demonstrate your skills by handling money in any shop of your choice!

2. Find a work experience placement

If you’re really keen to jump straight into a graduate job that is relevant to your dream career when you finish university, this option is probably the most beneficial for you. Work experience will boost your CV and overall graduate job application in a number of ways, ranging from demonstrating to a future employer that you are already accustomed to their work environment and are familiar with tasks you will most likely have to carry out, to showing you are an organized and motivated individual.

As you will be studying and therefore not have too much free time in the week to be an intern, the best time to apply for work experience is during the summer holiday. This additionally shows your enthusiasm and determination to kick-start your career – since you will be spending your well-deserved time off working instead of sunbathing and catching up with your favorite television shows!

One downfall of work experience is that it can most often be difficult to obtain in your preferred field or at your preferred level of work. But if you persevere and manage to secure a good placement, future employers will be extremely impressed. In addition, success in many careers is now heavily dependent on contacts, so it is important to gain as many as you can along the way – who knows, if they like your work, they may even offer you a job for another summer or even when you graduate!

3. Join a student society

When writing a CV, a lot of people struggle to find interesting and appropriate things to fill it with, other than their qualifications and work experience. Each university has at least a hundred student societies for you to join, including sports teams, from football to Ultimate Frisbee, and more obscure groups such as pirate societies and clubs for those who wish to appreciate tea-drinking! Whether you choose to join a student society that is relevant to your career path, or just wish to have some fun and meet people that share your common interests, it is without a doubt something that can really enliven and boost your CV and make you stand out more to potential employers.

As well as demonstrating your hobbies, participation in student societies can also demonstrate transferable skills, such as your ability to be organized and not just work well with others but negotiate with them. Each society requires at least one president, vice-president and secretary, which are all roles that are demonstrative of indispensable transferable skills to an employer, no matter what the graduate job description.

Rylie is a 19-year-old student entering her second year at the University of Kent (UK), studying a Bachelor of Arts in French and Film Studies. She is passionate about the media and would like to pursue a career in film and television, specializing in cinematography and videography. At university, she is the technical manager for the student television society KTV, and enjoys making videos and working on live broadcasts. Rylie is also an intern for Study International Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys taking photos at concerts of her favorite music artists.

This article was originally published in September 2014 . It was last updated in June 2015

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