How to Enrich Your CV During the Summer

The exams are over and summer’s rolling around…and what to do next? Have fun, of course, but it’s also invaluable to find some way to enhance your CV – with a summer job, or some sort of activity that your future employer will be pleased to learn of. You’ll have almost a full four months to make use of, and here are some things you could try.

Internships

Being an intern is a sure-fire way to demonstrate your skills, drive and capability, as well as a means to build up contacts and a network within the industry – and if you impress your superiors enough, you may even be able to look forward to a job in that company once you graduate! You can find job listings often from your university’s career advice website, or from other websites like Internwise or Indeed. Often, you’ll have to submit your CV and a cover letter (so reading up on the company to which you’re applying will definitely be to your advantage), or fill in a special form online, and be interviewed if your initial application is successful. Most internships or summer schemes are open to students in their final or penultimate years, and competition is bound to be fierce, so don’t worry if you aren’t able to get an internship instantly; sometimes certain firms won’t take you if you don’t study a certain degree subject, even if your skills are up to par with everyone else. Internships – paid or unpaid – can last from a week or two to up to a few months, so just make sure before you begin that you’re ready to commit!

Summer jobs

Summer camps and hospitality groups are always looking for more staff around this time of year, so applying for a position is a good way to earn some cash alongside being able to list your employment in your CV. There also tend to be spots for students to fill in retail, tutoring and marketing, and all you need to do is show how friendly and hardworking you are. It may not pay as much or seem as prestigious as an internship, but many employers do value whatever work experience you’ve been involved in, and a summer job is a good opportunity to acquire soft skills that can be applied to your future career. For instance, working at Tesco as a cashier can be a chance for you to learn how to, and show that you’re able to be presentable and welcoming towards strangers, and act as a strong communicator. As such you don’t have to worry about what position you get, as long as you can show on your CV how you’ve benefitted from it. Here and here are good places to start.

Summer schools and courses

If you don’t fancy working over the summer, or might find it difficult to commit to a 9-to-5 job for a few months, you might consider participating in an educational course with a summer school or online. Online courses tend to allow for more flexible hours and workload, while summer schools, which usually last two to three weeks, give you the chance to meet like-minded people and might be more effective by allowing face-to-face contact with your teachers. Many universities – possibly your own – offer courses for undergraduates, though they can be pricey; there are also an array of online courses that can give you proper qualifications, such as Squared Online, supported by Google, which is a course in digital marketing. These won’t only enhance your CV, but also let you learn more about or try you hand at something outside the remit of your degree. While free courses are hard to come by, there are websites like Duolingo (which teaches languages) which help you pick up skills or knowledge without a specifically-structured courses, and which can be as helpful as a paid summer course, albeit perhaps without offering qualifications.

Volunteering

Your university probably has some sort of volunteer society or volunteering services unit, and although volunteering means offering your time and effort on an unpaid basis, your volunteering experiences can still be added to your CV. You can either use these to show your commitment to a cause – since you’d happily work towards it for free – or in the same way that you would record your work experience. Volunteers are often needed for specific events, such as festivals or marathons, and because the atmosphere tends to be more friendly and casual, you’re more likely to bond and have fun than when at an internship or a job. And, of course, applying for a volunteering position is always less stressful. At the end of the day, it’s not the position, the pay or the reputation of the person you work for, but rather how well you’re able to show the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired on your CV and convince your prospective employer that you’re the person they want.

Eleanor Yung
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