With many people now finishing their exams and the long summer break fast approaching, it now daunts on some as to what they can do for four months. Eventually, going on holiday to Devon and drinking in your local pub spending £3.50 on a pint of Thatchers becomes tedious. So how can you make your summer more productive? How can you think long-term about your career after graduation?
Get a Job
This one sounds pretty obvious. Soon your student loan will run out and you will need to find a way to fund those pints with your mates from home. So a part-time or full-time job may prove useful here. This will not only act as a source of income but also prove invaluable for your CV. Something as simple as working in a shop or bar provides an opportunity to develop some vital skills for your future career: customer service, working in a fast-paced environment, teamwork skills and managing difficult situations are all buzzwords for prospective employers. If you have finished your first year, this will prove particularly useful if you are considering a graduate internship for your second year. This option also has the opportunity to offer employment transfers and adjusted contracts for companies that have branches in Southampton. This means that you can continue this source of income in Southampton and continue to build those main skills in a new environment, alongside developing time-management skills.
While some internships for the summer had application deadlines which closed in as early as January, others still have vacancies and are looking for able undergraduates to work for them over the course of the Summer. These are proving to be an even greater necessity with the High Flier Study from 2013 finding that undergraduates were at an advantage in getting graduate job positions if they were employed as an intern during their studies. These internships are generally quite competitive, so getting on one is a real achievement, and will prove to be invaluable for your CV, focusing on a graduate-specialised career and demanding the skills from your degree. It will probably prove to be a stronger talking point for your CV than your degree classification.
Most internships are designed for people in their penultimate or final year of study, so if you are in your first year then perhaps it would prove useful to look into what internships there are available for you now, or consider what you would like to apply for next year. Internships can range from government-orientated to commercial banking, and everything in-between. Some internships are still taking applications, so if you are looking for one this summer, then now is the time to fire up the CV!
A good place to look as a search engine for internships is RateMyPlacement.
This method can prove useful for building your CV. Back in my summer between first year and second year, I worked as a teaching assistant at my former secondary school as an unpaid work experience placement. Experience such as this is readily available for you, considering that schools do not close until mid-July as an example. Arranging these takes a more personal approach but is a lot less competitive and can be done for a business through yourself, a family friend or relative. The benefits here are not only in the skills that they will show for you but also your ability to take initiative, contact people and establish employment prospects for yourself. Even ringing up your local newspaper to see if you can shadow a journalist might prove profitable.
Philanthropy goes a long way for employers. It shows someone who is motivated, dedicated and altruistic, willing to sacrifice their own time for the benefit of others. Volunteering welcomes many people and can be a very rewarding occupation. The experiences that you can have can bring real change to people and ensure that someone is in a better situation after your efforts. A lot of the skills discussed above for ‘Get a Job’ can be developed in this area, so if you have some spare time this summer then this really is a good option for you.
Opportunities for volunteering can be found with organisations such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, to name a few.