You better work work work work work!

It’s summertime! Time to relax, spend some time with friends, laze about in the sun, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Sure there’s time to do some of that, but the summer vacation is the perfect time to find some work , not only to earn a bit of money for the coming academic year, but also to gain some work experience!

Does your CV have a skills gap? 

Is there something missing from your experience that would be really useful in the future? Which skills do job descriptions ask for, and can you provide all of them? Think about what you want to gain, and look for work experience that will tick that box.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain experience and skills. You won’t get paid, but you’ll be supporting a charity as well as making new friends and learning new skills. Charity shop work can help you develop customer service skills, time management, creativity (think about window displays and merchandising of stock) and organisational skills. Going abroad to help build a school or dig a well will give you cultural awareness, resilience, time management and team working skills. Employers love seeing volunteering on CV – it shows that someone is interested in the world they live in and is keen on giving back.

Some ideas:

Summer camps and language schools

Thinking of going into teaching? Want to gain some leadership skills? Summer camps and language schools could offer you these skills. Look online for local opportunities, and look around on campus – language schools take place across the summer at Canterbury campus, so find out who they are and where they are, and get applying.

Some ideas:

Talk to your friends and family

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” So many jobs are filled by people already known to a company, or someone who works there. Ask around, and see what’s on offer. You could find your dream job!

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What your hobbies and interests tell employers about you

When you’re putting together your graduate CV, your hobbies and interests section may seem fairly insignificant, right? Think again.

What you write about in this section can tell a prospective employer a lot more about you than you might think. Often, hobbies and interests suggest a lot about your personality, qualities, what you can offer an employer and what you might be like in the workplace.

The hobbies and interests section of your CV is even more important if you don’t have a lot of work experience (which is not uncommon for graduates). This is because employers are more likely to use it to build a better picture of you and your skills.

As a result, it’s important that you use your hobbies to showcase who you are and what attributes you have. Generally speaking, here’s what employers think about your hobbies and interests.

Travel

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It’s not uncommon for graduates to spend a few months or a gap year travelling, either before or after university. But what do employers think of grads who travel?

The good news is that most employers like to see a well-travelled graduate. This is because travelling usually helps you to develop key skills and character traits that are transferable to the workplace. These include independence, being adaptable and great communication skills.

If you have been travelling, it’s definitely worth talking about it concisely on your CV and mentioning the skills and qualities that it has helped you to develop. Globe-trotting grads tend to be perceived as open-minded, curious and resilient which are all great things to bring into a workplace.

Sport

Playing sport shows employers that you have some fantastic qualities that may include being:

  • Driven
  • Competitive
  • Motivated
  • A team player (depending on the sport)
  • Dedicated
  • Passionate

So many job roles and companies value these qualities so you would be silly not to mention your sporting achievements on your CV.

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Charity Work/Volunteering

From helping to build schools in Africa to walking dogs at your local animal shelter, many graduates have gotten involved in volunteering opportunities. Obviously volunteering is a fantastic thing for communities but it can also help your job application stand out.

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Don’t leave me hanging on like a YoYo!

My 2-week work experience at YoYo Design was my first internship and it has taught me a lot. I got to try many different things such as graphic design, which I had never done before, as well as image editing and videomaking, in which I only had experience as an amateur. I learned how to use new digital software for the projects I was working on, as well as deepening my knowledge in the ones that I already knew how to use.

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My main project was to shoot and edit a video for the company to enter some design awards with a website they designed and developed. The video included some interviews as well as web content and required a lot of sound mixing, which I found challenging at the beginning, but then really enjoyed working on. I really liked working on this project because, even though I was  supported by my mentor, I had the chance to work quite autonomously, making the most of the creative decisions and choices.

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I think working for an established company like YoYo made me gain confidence in my creative skills and will probably be very valuable in terms of future employability in the media industry.

P1010549I really liked my experience at YoYo especially because of the extremely welcoming environment and the nice and friendly people I had the luck to work with. Everyone made me feel like I was part of the team from the very first day, which allowed me to feel comfortable and enjoy my time there. Unfortunately the studio was really far from where I live, so I had to commute by train every day, but the The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary allowed me to be able to afford the travel costs.

– Flavia Scagni is a 2nd year Film student at the University of Kent 

Students and graduates: Why use professional networks?

Finding a job in line with your studies is something you might not start thinking about until university is over, and when you do, the first thing you will probably do is type “graduate jobs” into Google and trawl through the jobs on offer. This is the most obvious way to go, but there is another way of improving your chances of finding a job which you may or may not have already thought of: professional networks.

wizbii

But what is a professional network? Put simply, a professional network is a social network (like Facebook) that focuses solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature, rather than personal interactions. LinkedIn is probably the first name that springs to mind when professional networks are mentioned, but there are also other options available. Wizbii, for example, is a professional network designed specifically for students and graduates, with jobs and internships requiring little or no previous experience – the maximum experience required for jobs is 2 years. Professional networks aren’t just for graduates looking for their first professional job after university. It’s a good idea to sign up and be active whilst you are studying to build up your professional network, have access useful career advice and find internships and other work opportunities. Having a profile on professional networks also shows that you are serious about your career.

Why are professional networks useful?

Professional networks allow you to be headhunted by recruiters who are looking for employees with your particular skills and background, which could save you a lot of time and effort. Like traditional job search sites, you will also be able to search for jobs directly and find opportunities in your desired sector. Wizbii lets you know if any of your contacts have worked at companies you wish to apply to who could therefore give you some useful tips. The social aspect of professional networks is yet another great advantage. You can join public groups, share information on subjects that interest you and read news and articles shared by other members. These interactions will allow you to make new contacts and expand your professional network. And you never know, these contacts could be very useful for your job search and could help steer you in the right direction.

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Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

We’ve all heard about people who have found a job through creative means…there’s the Kent graduate who wore a sandwich board around London, the graduate who paid to have a poster on a billboard, and the advertising professionals who used Twitter to “hustle” themselves jobs… but how does creative job hunting actually work in practice?

Know your audience! It’s not going to work if you are applying for a job at a firm who are asking for a CV, covering letter and transcript from university. Sending them a box of chocolates with a DVD of your video CV probably isn’t the best way to get a job with them. If there’s a specific, pre-defined way in which the organisation would like you to apply, then use that. But if you are applying speculatively, that is to say when a job is not specifically advertised (on the off-chance, you could say!), then go for it!

An excellent example of someone who has understood when to be extra-creative is Elski Felson, who created a video CV using Snapchat, when applying for a job there! He hasn’t, as yet, heard back from them, but using the tool that the company manages is a fantastic way to grab attention.