Some of my fondest memories from secondary school and sixth-form took place outside of the classroom and often, outside of school. Every single summer, I would search ‘What to do over the summer’, read too many articles and then try to apply for some opportunities. Of course, extra-curricular activities might look different these days but there are still opportunities which can help you develop your CV, improve your skills and have fun! So, today we’ll be discussing 5 things you can do over the summer to help boost your employability.
Do something that challenges you.
This will look different for everyone but it might be that you’ve always wanted to learn a type of dance, this is the perfect time to do so. Taking part in competitions (academic or industry-related) or challenges can also be a really enhancing experience. You might get the opportunity to work as part of a team or develop your understanding of your subject and regardless of winning or not, this is something you can put on your CV.
Take a new course or learn a new skill.
We sometimes underestimate the breadth of skills available to us- it doesn’t have to be something academic or related to your studies! You might be really interested in decorating cakes and want to take some summer classes on this or if you’re interested in filmmaking, then learn how to edit using a new software. Following your interests will help you develop competencies which can be useful to you later in life. Even if these don’t apply to your future career, you might develop a long-term hobby or enjoy the learning process.
Work or volunteer if you can!
Work experience is an amazing way to get insights into different industries but if you find that it’s too late to apply for formal work experience or you haven’t been successful in your applications, then try some other options. You might be able to get some work locally or support an organisation with your skills over the summer. If you’d like somewhere to start, write down 3 skills or competencies you have and then brainstorm how you can use those skills practically. Going back to our filmmaking example, you might offer to help a growing Youtube channel with their editing or if you’re looking to develop your cake decorating skills, you could do so and perhaps donate some or all of your revenue to a cause you support. Formal work experience is great but organising your own work, volunteering or local project can also demonstrate key skills such as being proactive and organised. As a launchpad, check out this post on finding student friendly jobs and writing your job applications!
I know, networking can be quite a scary word but the act in itself doesn’t have to be. My first tip would be to define your networking goals. Do you want to speak to professionals in a certain industry to find out more about their work? Do you want to speak to a university student for advice on UCAS applications or meet other students like yourself to collaborate on a project? Over the summer, you might make it a goal to speak to 2 university students and 1 young professional for example. Whilst you will not list all your networks on your CV, speaking to people gives you insight, knowledge and those conversations could lead to further opportunities.
Re-read your CV, edit it and then get it reviewed.
You might not have anticipated this but one of the best ways to improve your CV is to actually dedicate time to doing this. Go through each experience on your CV, is everything clear and easy to understand? Have you quantified any of your achievements? Have you checked for spelling errors? I would also recommend getting a trusted friend or adviser to read over your CV and give you some feedback. It’s definitely not something you should write once and ignore completely after that.
I hope this has been a useful post and I’m sure you’ll have some amazing ideas as well so let me know in the comments: what are your plans for summer? Is there anything you would add to this list?