How to use your Summer break to prepare for your career

06/04/2017

Five top tips for using your Summer break to help with your graduate career

If you’re a student or a recent graduate you thoroughly deserve a break. You may have finished exams, finals, dissertations and we all know how stressful that is. So go on, head off somewhere exotic on holiday, put your feet up, go exploring, have fun with your mates.

Right, are you back? Rested, recharged, motivated and ready to rock?

Because if you haven’t got your dream job lined up for this or next September, you need to invest at least some of your time and energy this Summer into your career, and here’s why.

  • Many graduate recruiters will start advertising jobs from September
  • Autumn term is chock-full of careers events and fairs at most universities
  • Once you get back to Uni, you’ll be back to the whirlwind of studying and socialising
  • If you’ve recently graduated, once September hits you’ll be competing with many other grads also looking for work
  • Currently, hiring and investment intentions remain ‘relatively robust’ among many of London’s firms following the result of the EU referendum, according to research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and commercial property firm CBRE. However, there’s a degree of economic uncertainty post-Brexit.
  • According to the High Fliers Graduate Research report 2016, almost half the recruiters who took part in the research repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

So with this in mind, what can you do now, in your rested, recharged state, to move yourself to the brink of success in your career?

  1. If, like so many of the students we spoke with at last year’s Summer Graduate Fair, you’re still in a state of flux over what you want to do, it’s decision time. Or if not a decision, at least a time for self-exploration and analysis of your personal traits and skills, your interests and your loves. You need to narrow down the options. Office environment or not? International travel or not? Location? Private or public sector? Then take an honest, inward look at your skills and attributes. If you remain stuck, consider a session with a career coach to help set you in the right direction.
  2. Get your personal marketing documents up to scratch. That’s right, personal marketing documents. If your CV and social media profiles currently sport a bland statement and few entries about Saturday jobs, they need an overhaul. Your CV and social media profiles need to sell you. They need to showcase your skills, lambast your achievements, differentiate you from the competition, and impress recruiters. If promoting yourself doesn’t come easily, or you’re not the best writer, panic not. Help is at hand. There are numerous free resources online or if you’re able to invest in a professional CV writer then that could be the best money you ever spend.
  3. Research companies, recruiters, jobs and person specs. Look at company’s own websites as well as their profile on recruitment sites. Follow them, read their blogs and interact with them. Download job descriptions and person specs so that you know what’s expected. Apply for work experience – even if none is advertised, it’s always worth sending off a powerful, passionate letter explaining your interest in the organisation and what you could bring to it.
  4. Put yourself out there. Get your new, high impact CV and profile content uploaded whenever and wherever you can. Build your mybrink profile. Think about any additional materials that may support your profile. Blogs, published papers, recommendations and references. Prizes, achievements, awards. If you come across great on camera, record a vlog. You need to stand out. You need to be everywhere. You need to be found.
  5. Build a calendar of events. Attend your university careers fairs if you’re still at uni, even if you’re not in your final year (read our blog on why it’s never too early to start networking). If you’ve recently graduated, make a list of the best Careers Fairs to target. Then invest in a smart outfit, get your patter straight about what you want and why you’re a great candidate, arm yourself with your CV, get out there and get in front of recruiters.

So if you thought the Summer was all about R&R we’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If you’re feeling anxious about your future, then the Summer is your breathing space to think, plan and act.

From the mybrink team, good luck!