How can I use my summer holidays to help me with my graduate job hunt?

 

So school’s out and whilst not doing very much for a while might be just what the doctor ordered after all the end of term festivities, with almost ten weeks still ahead of you, you might soon be itching for some structure to your days… Of course, it’s very important to set aside time to go on holiday, catch up with friends and relax in front of the TV, but you’ll find that taking just one or two productive weeks out will make a big difference when it comes to looking for a graduate job in your final year.

To help you out, we’ve come up with 5 ways in which you can get yourself ahead of the game this summer – we can guarantee that you’ll be thanking yourselves when it comes to graduation time.

 

Work on your CV:

 

First things first, if you haven’t already created a CV template, then the holidays are the perfect time to get started with your first draft. A CV is essential if you want to apply for any internships, work experience or volunteering opportunities over the break, so it’s advised to have one on stand-by. Start by just jotting down a list of everything you’ve accomplished and sorting these into Academic, Work Experience and Skills sections to create a master CV template. When you start applying for roles, you’ll need to start creating tailored CVs which are relevant to the position and company in question. Brighton Careers Service has a lot of information available on this topic so be sure to make the most of it.

If you’re in your final year, it’s time to start building your LinkedIn profile. This is essentially an online, shareable and all-encompassing version of your CV, so it won’t take you long to set up once your CV is written. It is valuable to have a profile set up once you start looking for jobs because employers will be likely to look you up when assessing your application for a role. It’s a good way to start building your professional network.

 

Get some work experience:

 

The main thing to mention here is that some experience is a whole lot better than no experience at all. Employers will not expect graduates to have much, if any, relevant experience when applying for their roles (unless it’s something very specialised, e.g. a web developer role). The summer is a great time to secure an internship. Whilst it might be too late to apply for one at a larger, better known company, it’s worth keeping an eye online for opportunities in smaller businesses or simply emailing them to find out.

We also recommend speaking to your family and friends to see whether you could gain some work experience with them. Ask around and you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that might pop up. There’s great value in trying as many different things as you can to get a sense of what you really enjoy doing, and what you don’t.

 

Volunteer for a good cause:

 

Volunteering during your holidays is not only a worthwhile and meaningful thing to do, but it is also a fantastic way of gaining practical experience and skills (team work, communication, management), which are highly valued by employers. Make sure you pick an area you are interested in. It’s a good idea to do something that’s related to what you’d like or think you might like to do professionally in the future, e.g. marketing or website design for a small charity.

Volunteering opportunities are easy to find last minute – a quick Google will bring up a host of opportunities in your local area. Have a browse and get in touch with the charities you are interested in.

 

Learn a skill or pick up a new hobby:

 

Having a selection of additional skills and hobbies on your CV is a sure fire way to impress prospective employers. It shows that you are able to take your own initiative and actively take time out to develop your knowledge and passion.Pick something that interests you and that you would enjoy doing, otherwise you risk it becoming an unfinished chore. Some ideas to get you going are: improving or picking up a new language, joining a local sports team, starting an online coding course or teaching yourself a musical instrument.

If you’re approaching your final year, it’s worth having a look at job requirements for roles you are interested in and noting down any key skills that you are missing. Maybe it’s time to brush up on your Powerpoint or Excel skills!

 

If you’re going into your final year:

 

At this stage, you should have a clear idea of which sectors you are interested in – don’t worry if you are still a bit unsure, but try and narrow down your interest to a maximum of three sectors.

For most industries it’s perfectly acceptable to wait until you’ve graduated to officially begin your job hunt. Startups & SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) only start recruiting a month or two before their start date, so it’s actually advised to wait until you’ve graduated before you apply for positions there.

But if you are looking to go into Finance, Consulting or Banking, keep in mind that the Milkround is pretty rigid. Use your summer holiday to research and note down any deadlines for roles that your are are interested in applying for. You’ll want to use the your first term to get going with applications before the stress of finals takes over.

 

Guest post by Sophie Hudson, Head of Community at TalentPool – a recruitment platform matching recent graduates with job and internships opportunities in startups & SMEs.