Students often believe that internships and University experiences are the only ways to become more employable. However, the summer break could be a great way to take some time off, reflect on your career and more importantly boost your employability. I have prepared some tips to help you make the most of your summer and boost your employability.
First, take some time off. After a long period of stress due to deadlines and exams, it is crucial to take a well-deserved break. As the American writer, Anne Lamott said: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”. Travelling, playing sports, dedicating time to your hobbies, spending time with your family or simply relaxing are all great ways to blow off some steam. This break will allow you to go back to University with a fresh mind and be ready to conquer the world.
The next one is to “stay ahead of the game”. Waiting until the last minute and not planning your next move is a major mistake that many students make every year. With no university deadlines and exams, you’re more likely to be relaxed and able to think clearly. This makes summer the perfect time to start planning ahead. If you’re going into your final year of university then this is the best time to start thinking about your major projects or dissertation by doing a bit of prep and reading. Also, thinking about firms and grad roles/internships you want to apply for would also be a good idea. Personally, I would suggest creating a word/excel file with a list of roles you are interested in. This will allow you to save time during the university year and stay on top of application deadlines. It is crucial to keep in mind that applying early increases your chances of getting an offer. In this very competitive Post-COVID job market you should do all you can to maximise your chances. On the other hand, if you’re going into your second year, figuring out whether you’d like to go on a year abroad, do a placement or simply progress to the third year would be beneficial.
Another important one is to get some work experience. Doing a summer internship is great but it is not the only way to gain relevant work experience. Working in a restaurant, in a retail store, as a tutor or even volunteering would help you gain relevant transferable skills, making you more employable. Summer jobs will help you gain and demonstrate highly valuable soft skills such as communication, discipline and teamwork. Needless to mention that this experience will enrich your CV and boost your chances in the job market. There are plenty of opportunities like these around the world, so there’ll definitely be one out there that will suit your skills and interests. This is also an opportunity for you to see yourself develop and grow as a person.
The last tip I would like to give is to learn new skills. This might sound like a chore, but it is definitely worth it. Learning a key hard skill will be a huge plus that could help you land your dream job.
The top hard skills to know in 2021 are:
Computer skills: this includes Microsoft Office (specifically Excel) but also google drive and other means of working virtually. This will not only help you in your working life but also at University.
Data management: such as Python. Although this might sound like a hassle and not the ideal way to spend your time in the summer, learning this accessible coding language will make you stand out in the application process (especially for Investment Banking). Various beginner courses exist on platforms such as Udemy or Coursera.
Languages: As you may already know, in this globalized economy speaking more than 1 language opens doors as global firms are in constant needs of multilingual individuals. Speaking another language will not only boost your employability but it also comes with numerous cognitive benefits such as increasing creative thinking and enhance memory.
Good luck and enjoy your well-deserved summer break!