Whether you’ve just completed your college course, graduated from university, or finished your post-grad qualification, there are plenty of opportunities for you to give your career a bit of a headstart and increase your employability when the time comes to start a new job.
Completing your studies can often leave people feeling a bit low, and the feeling of being in ‘limbo’ can start to creep in. That’s why this time – the period between finishing your course and landing your first full-time role – is crucial to gain as much experience as you can.
Plus, there are plenty of ways to make extra money, which is always useful! Of course, it’s important to relax after a busy few years of deadlines, coursework and exams, but spending three whole months over the summer with your feet up could leave you disadvantaged when you come to applying for jobs.
So, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can boost your career this summer and land your perfect role.
1. Do some voluntary work
Volunteering is a great way to network and build contacts while working for an organisation you care about. Also, it allows you to become familiar with a range of workplace activities and build upon your personal development. From helping out at your local charity shop to getting involved in fundraising events, your voluntary work can take you a long way.
Volunteering is also a great way to combat the age-old ‘need a job to gain experience but need experience to get a job’ conundrum. There are many transferable skills to develop from volunteering, whether in retail, events, dog walking or anything else you can think of – and it will all give your CV and general workplace confidence a healthy boost ready for the big world of work!
2. Take on an internship
Internships are usually short-term placements within a company to train you for a certain role. An internship can give you a great insight into what working life is like and could even help you to decide what you do or don’t want to do when applying for permanent positions. Whilst it’s true that not all internships are paid positions, the experience they can give you – and the boost this gives your career – is invaluable.
3. Take part in market research
Market research is a way for brands to find out what their customers really think about their product or service. From your perspective, taking part in a market research study means that your voice will be heard and you can influence the way brands advertise, price, brand, package and place their product or service on the market.
But that’s not all: participating in market research shows initiative and helps to develop your world view and will also inevitably build your communication skills. Whether you participate in an online community or a focus group, research is all about communicating – and initiative and communication skills are definitely buzz words worth adding to your CV to help get you noticed.
Plus, it’s a way to make extra money as you continue your search for your next job. So not only do you get your opinions heard by the brands you use regularly, but you can also impress future employers, show that you are proactive and passionate and make some pocket money too. To get involved, sign up to a research panel and start receiving invitations to studies that suit you.
4. Go travelling
Travelling is a great option for those who’ve got the travel bug! It shows you’re willing to try new things and take on new experiences, as well as developing your confidence. Travelling often involves quite a lot of organisation and planning, which you’d be able to apply to the workplace, too. Plus you’ll have plenty of interesting stories to tell your new colleagues!
5. Start a blog
One of the best ways to show how passionate you are about a particular industry is to start a blog dedicated to it. Whether you want to work on your writing skills or talk about the latest industry news, starting your own blog will put you a step ahead when it comes to applying for jobs. You could use free platforms such as WordPress or Blogger, and let your creativity run wild with customisation.
6. Join a club/sports team
Teamwork is a skill that most employers look for – and one of the best ways to demonstrate excellent teamwork is by joining a sports club. And that’s not all: developing a new hobby will also help you to de-stress from the mundane activity of job searching!
7. Organise an event
What better way to demonstrate your organisational skills than by putting together an event? Event planning involves logistics, marketing and a whole lot of organisation, which means it’ll give you a great opportunity to build upon your skills. You could give a talk on a topic that interests you or a charity fundraising bake sale – whatever interests you!
8. Get a summer job
While doing all of your extra-curricular activities, you’ll need to find ways to make extra money so you can afford to live! Any experience is good experience when you want to land that perfect job – even if it’s just working for the local pub or corner shop. It’s important not to have gaps in your CV if you can help it, as employers may question what you were actually doing during this time! Plus, the new skills you learn will be great to add to your CV too.
9. Learn new skills
To strengthen job applications and demonstrate enthusiasm for your career, try and learn some new skills that are relevant to the role you’d like to go into. You don’t necessarily need to go off and learn three new languages or know the ins and outs of computer coding, but just showing motivation for your work will go a long way. For example, why not develop your writing skills with an online course or take on a short-course over the summer months at college?
10. Network, network, network!
This one’s a big one. Often, when searching for your next role, it’s not what you know but who you know. Oh, your mum’s cousin’s friend’s uncle works for that company you’ve always dreamt of working for? Perfect! You’re in! But often it isn’t quite so simple – which is why you’ll probably have to put yourself out there a bit to hear of opportunities.
If face-to-face networking intimidates you, don’t worry – online platforms such as LinkedIn provide the perfect solution. Do some research into the kind of companies you’d love to work for and connect with some of its employees. A great tip is to send a direct message to them, asking them how they got their role or if they have any advice. Sure, they might not always reply, but there’s no harm in showing your interest!
All in all…Landing your dream job is often a long journey, so make sure you take your time and give yourself the best chance possible by taking every opportunity that arrives. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to make extra money such as taking part in market research or working a summer job whilst you make more permanent plans. We wish you the best of luck!