SO, you’ve got a long summer to look forward to but are yet to make your plans? The exams are over and you don’t want to think about college at all, right? But that doesn’t mean you can’t think about being proactive with your summer and doing something to gain great CV busting experiences. We have put together our top tips with a few different ways to make the most of the summertime……….. Earn Money, boost your resume, have fun and meet new people!
It could be paid work to fund your festivals, friday nights or future studies. It could be an internship at a respected company in your chosen field, it could be volunteering for a charity, a club or an event. IT ALL ADDS UP! Not only do you look good on paper, you have gone through that valuable learning curve and have the insight to show for it. You might want to sit in all day binging on the Game of Thrones season you sacrificed for that ‘Principles of Biochemistry’ project BUT you will appreciate them all the more after you’ve gone out worked on something proactive.
Job searching can feel soul destroying but our trick is to treat the job search like a job itself. Get organised and get crafty. Your search can start with an online job search engine but that needs to be just step one of many. Network! Ask around, get your parents to ask to, talk to your lecturers about opportunities. Speculate! Contact a business or company yourself, register your interest with them and tell them the length of time you could work and where you would see yourself fit in. Companies are using short-term contracts more and more and you might just be the short-term solution they were looking for. Follow-up! Have a spreadsheet for your applications; Where, when and to who you applied. After a week if you heard nothing, follow-up with a call, or drop in. People are busy. The reminder is often welcomed with the benefit of making you stand-out as a more memorable, personable and proactive candidate. Keep an eye on twitter using #jobfairy too...it throws up great leads on who is hiring and why. Event management companies are always looking for positive outgoing students during the summer too.
The idea of working for little or no money might sound painful when you could be in Ibiza or just in bed. It is! But it’s an investment in your future job searches. Internships give you the chance to witness and par-take in a role, learn on the spot with a lot less pressure, meet the right people and put a big sparkling stamp in their mind on your CV. ‘HAS EXPERIENCE- CARES ENOUGH TO LEARN ON THEIR OWN TIME’. That says a lot. You can get a professional reference out of it too which will be important down the road. LinkedIn job searches are great for finding internships. Use a keyword search and include the word ‘summer’ to see what opportunities are out there. Approaching companies directly can work too. What have you got to lose! Try Careerjet.ie, Indeed.ie, or Xperience.ie for a start
This is a great one that not a lot of people do. It’s impressive professionally and can be life-affirming to life-changing personally. There are unlimited options available and you can really find a role that suits you, your interests and even your future career. If you want to get into marketing why not approach a charity and offer to work on social media for them. If you are an artist you could teach classes or design posters. Even if a role doesn’t seem to relate to your studies volunteering enhances your problem-solving skills, people skills and employability immeasurably. You will not regret it. Check out www.volunteer.ie for nationwide options. See our blog post on Volunteering for a bit of inspiration too.
This is perhaps slightly less of a personally sacrificial contribution to society and more of a gateway to great times but festival volunteering is a clever way to hear great music, meet like-minded people and have some adventure in your summer without breaking the bank. Indiependence, Electric Picnic, Longitude and Castlepalooza are all looking for stewards, activists and just darn positive hard workers. You get to experience a festival, balance work and play and achieve a sense of camaraderie with your fellow volunteers that almost rivals the friendships made by that one person who hands you toilet roll. Check out Oxfam , the Festival of Curiosity or Kilkenny Arts Fest to name but a few.
You can also sign up to Volunteer Ireland’s festival newsletter here
Learn to Drive
You will never know the freedom you are missing until you get in your car and GO! Learning to drive can be time consuming and expensive so spreading classes through the summer and practicing with family members and friends can make a huge difference. Even if you can’t see yourself getting a car in the near future driving is a life-skill that increases your opportunities by 1000%. You’ll be glad you took this down-time when you have no time after graduation. Just be careful with loved one you practice with. There is no environment that brings out personalities and tests a persons patience more than this! There is no bigger fight to be had than ‘I did put the clutch down!!! I don’t know why I hit the side of the house! It wasn't my fault’
Build your Profile for the future
Summer is also a great time to get some headspace, step back and think about the practical steps you can take towards the job you want at the end of your hard academic slog. But before you can boost your CV you need to build it. Take some time out to reassess your CV (If you don’t have one start putting it together NOW). Seeing your skills on paper will help you focus on what your goals are and what you need to do to surpass them. E.g. If you want to do social work, do you need to volunteer more? If you want to go into PR, is now the time to start searching for that internship? If you want to teach, why not look for summer camps who need helpers so you can flex your skills in organising groups of kids?
CV Formats and content are important for the type of job that interests you. There are a million sites on line to help but we recommend checking out Grad Ireland’s concise guide as a great starting point.
Focus on the skills you have gained in non-paid roles as well as previous jobs. At under-graduate stage you can’t be expected to have 10yrs experience but you can show off the strengths and skills that employees are looking for. Tell of leadership and discipline learned through sport. Talk about the team-work skills you’ve hones through your coursework. Talk about your interests and how you pro-actively strive to improve your skill-sets. Have you ever blogged? Played a role in a school/club event? Learned a different language?
DON’T FORGET about online! A CV tells a story to a potential employer but your on-line presence gives them a flavour of who you are. Once you have put together your CV, create a LinkedIn profile so it can be digitally accessed. Network with peers, family, business owners and influential people you know in real life. Follow groups for tips on your developing your career path. It’s never too early to start painting a professional digital self-portrait.
- Be careful with your language, spelling, punctuation, grammar and tone. If you hand an employer a CV to represent who you are and you’ve spelled ‘organised’ wrongly, you don’t seem organised!
- Keep your personal profiles private! Switch everything on FB/Twitter/Instagram to private unless it visibly backs up your business skills. Keep your personal life personal. No Future Boss wants or needs to see those ‘INSANE HUNZOs HAVING DA SHOTZ’ Electric Picnic pics!
- Don’t Lie. It’s never worth it. Saying you are fluent in German because you got a B in the Junior Cert might come back and bite you in the ‘Arsch’.
Whatever you choose to do this summer we hope its a great summer to remember. Live it to the fullest, make it count by using it wisely but above all have fun while your at it! This is your summer! Don't let your future self down by hibernating with a box-set. That's what horrible, wintery, rainy term-time days are for!