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10 Ways to Boost Your Employment Prospects Over the Summer Holidays

10 Ways To Boost Your Employment Prospects Over The Summer Holidays main image

So you’ve just settled down for the long university summer holidays. You’ve spent time with your friends, binged-watched Netflix and you’re now looking for something slightly more fulfilling to do with the rest of your summer. What better way than to prepare for your future career?

Read on for 10 handy tips on how boost your employment prospects this summer!

1.Research your chosen career (or careers that you think you might be interested in)

Research

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that it’s fine if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. You’re not alone in not knowing – the majority of students (and graduates) either have no idea what they want to do for a career, or even end up changing their minds at some point down the line.

Despite this, it’s always good to try and get a vague idea of the industry or role you may want to get into once you graduate; find out how here. Once you’ve narrowed down a few roles or industries that sound interesting to you, take time to really research them, including qualifications needed, what the job entails etc. Take notes of any findings you come across to go back to them in the future – you never know when they might come in handy further down the line.

2. Develop your self-awareness

Self aware

Take time to get to know yourself a bit better. What do you perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses? Outline them, and then come up with smaller bite sized steps as to how you plan to improve them.

If one of your weaknesses is, for example, networking, you can make a list of people you can get in contact with, or lecturers to get to know better, whom you may be able to use as references in the future (LinkedIn is a very useful tool for building contacts.) This will help improve your graduate employability majorly.

Getting to know your strengths and weaknesses early on, and taking steps to improve them, will stop them potentially tripping you up in the future, and also help you figure out which careers and industries may suit you.

3. Rewrite your Resume/LinkedIn

Resume writing

Your resume is probably something you’ve overlooked at university, and is most likely not up to date and polished, or perhaps you don’t even have one yet. Not to worry, the summer is the perfect time to brush it up and add any new things you’ve done this year! Learn how to spruce up your CV here.

You should also set some time aside to set up a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a type of interactive, online CV, and is an excellent way to find jobs and meet useful contacts, as well as keeping potential employers up to date with what you’re doing. You can even follow specific companies or job roles, and get alerts when they have new opportunities coming up. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, so it’s worth investing some time into.

4. Get a summer internship

Intern

Although this seems like an obvious way to boost your employment prospects, it’s still a very important one. Internships are a great way to earn a bit of extra money, while learning some important workplace skills.

You may think that doing an internship in something when you have no idea what you want to do is pointless, especially when your friends seem to know exactly what they want to do. Nevertheless, doing an internship in something you think sounds interesting but don’t know much about might be the catalyst to spark a passion in that industry for you, or alternatively show you that that specific career is not for you. The least you will gain is some valuable workplace experience, and improve your graduate employability.

For example, in my second year of university, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I was taking a degree in economics, but knew I liked reading and writing, so that summer I decided to do a marketing internship. Although I soon realized that marketing wasn’t the career for me in the long run, that six-week internship taught me many valuable skills about working and interacting in an office, as well as the importance of prioritizing my workload. It was also great to have produced professional work that I could show and discuss with future employers in interviews.

See here for some tips on how to get a summer internship.

5. Get a summer job

Barista making coffee

Whether it’s at your local coffee shop or on a busy shop floor, you’re likely to pick up qualities that will appeal to prospective employers, such as teamwork, leadership, and communication skills; all of which will be useful in competency based interviews when you’re asked to give examples.

For example, if you ever have to deal with an unhappy customer, you can talk about how you dealt with the difficult situation, and the steps you took to resolve this, which also gives an example of your ability to problem solve. You’re also likely to pick up some commercial awareness, as you will get the chance to experience how the business operates on a day to day basis.

Find out how to get a student job here >

6. Start a new hobby

Starting a new hobby

Starting a new hobby may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of improving your graduate employability, but trying something new, like a sports club or a musical instrument, is a great way to meet new people, and learn a new skill. Having an interesting hobby on your CV can help you stand out from the crowd and give you that extra edge over other applicants.

It’s also good if the hobby pushes you slightly out of your comfort zone, as not only is this great for building your confidence, but it’s also good preparation for your working life, where you will undoubtedly be put into situations in which you sometimes feel out of your depth, and it’s useful to find effective ways to deal with these moments. You’ll also most likely end up making some great new friends!

7.Take on volunteer work

Volunteering

Like starting a new hobby, volunteering is a great way to meet new people and build connections, whilst boosting your skills. Volunteering is also ideal for boosting your graduate employability. Find out about the benefits of volunteering here.

The great thing about volunteering is the sheer variety of different areas available, and you can even volunteer abroad. It’s up to you how many hours you want to put in, and many opportunities offer extensive training, so you’ll be helping yourself while you help others – really a win-win situation!

8. Try an online course

Online Course

 Online courses are a great way to boost your employment prospects without even leaving the house! With the sheer volume of courses available on the internet, you’ll have no problem finding something that interests you. Learn coding with codeacademy, digital marketing with Google, or anything else with futurelearn, vision2learn or coursera.

You will also be pleased to know that most of these online courses are free, although you may need to pay for a certificate to prove that you have gained a recognized qualification.

One student tells us what she liked about the business and administration online course she took to enhance her career prospects; “the course gave me a good general insight into admin and business which can be applied to lots of different things”.

9.Start a blog

A dog writing a blog

Starting a blog is a great way to find your voice and write about what you’re passionate about. This is particularly useful if you're looking to go into a more creative role or industry, as it gives you a chance to express yourself in a professional way. You should make it relevant to the industry you are applying for and write about relevant topics that interest you.

Blogging is a great way to complement your CV, and it is easier than ever to create a free blog. Find out how here.

10.Network

Networking

That old phrase, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ props up once again. Before you roll your eyes and look away, it’s worth noting that research has shown that up to 60 percent of jobs are not advertised. It is now more vital than ever to network, and luckily for you, with social media, apps and the internet, it’s easier than ever as well!

There are even specific websites available which inform you of networking events in your area, for example, Eventbrite, which gives details of networking events of all kinds. Read our tips on effective networking here.

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Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below.

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Theo M, Ellisse P & 3 others saved this
Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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