firstpoint’s five points about using your summer to prepare for the future…

Every Monday, firstpoint publishes five points about a topic related to life at university. This week, the summer months are an excellent chance to prepare yourself for future opportunities… 
POINT ONE: PART-TIME JOBS…

Working part-time can provide you with a ‘background’ in a particular profession or sector and can supply you with a useful referee outside of the University. It also allows you to build networking contacts and puts you in a strong position if you later apply for a full-time job within that organisation as staff will already recognise your strengths.

Work experience can be a vital way for students to build their CVs and acquire transferable skills. Evidence of a student’s previous work roles can prove to potential employers that they have relevant knowledge, are motivated and that they are reliable.

The Careers & Employability Service has a part-time jobs bulletin, updated on a weekly basis, which lists current parttime vacancies in the local area as well as how to apply. To find out more, log into the myCareer portal.

POINT TWO: INTERNSHIPS…

An internship is one way to get work experience that will strengthen your graduate job applications. However, some internships are unpaid, particularly in sectors such as the media or politics.

So how do you decide whether an unpaid internship is a valuable opportunity?  Should you be looking for a job which will give you some much-needed cash? The following tips may help you decide whether an unpaid internship is valuable:

  • Discuss the purpose of the internship and clarify expectations on both sides from the start.
  • Be clear about how long you want the placement to last for.
  • Ensure the placement is valuable – does it give you an insight into a particular industry? Will it improve your skills or clarify your career aspirations? Will you get a reference out of it?
  • Will there be any training or development with this opportunity? Will you have a supervisor/mentor to help you with this?
  • Discuss the possibilities of any future paid work with the employer, pointing out the skills that you have gained during the internship.
  • Re-consider the value of the internship if it ceases to supply useful contacts and training opportunities.
  • National minimum wage legislation states that it is unlawful to take someone on as a worker and not pay an appropriate wage. If you are being expected to work certain hours and have a specific job role which is useful to the organisation, then your company may be in contravention of this legislation.
  • Everyone has a choice and if you feel that you are being exploited then it is up to you to decide whether to continue or not.

If you think an internship could be right for you, speak with a Careers Adviser and discuss it further. You can book an appointment through the myCareer portal.

POINT THREE: SUMMER CAMPS…

If you’d like to spend your summer travelling, meeting new people, learning skills, gaining experience AND earn some money, then have a look at the Summer Camps listed on the Careers & Employability job bulletin. Spain, American, Italy or China… there are lots of opportunities available, have a look on the myCareer portal.

POINT FOUR: WORK EXPERIENCE AND VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES…

Work experience is invaluable in helping you understand certain job sectors, develop your skills, and build important networks.  Work experience relevant to your chosen career area is ideal but don’t forget that most employers are looking for evidence of transferable skills, and so any work experience or project can provide excellent evidence of communication skills, teamwork, numeracy or problem solving. For example:

  • Volunteering through the Student’s Union; remember that any volunteering you do will also count towards the personal development activities section of your Worcester Award.
  • Part-time jobs can be found advertised in the myCareer portal.
  • Speak to your course leaders/lecturers – they might be able to inform you of any opportunities particularly relevant to your studies.
POINT FIVE: UPDATE YOUR CV AND WORK ON YOUR INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES…

Whether you’re applying for a part-time job, gap year experience or graduate role, you need to make sure that you get your application right. A good CV or application form can increase your chances of getting an interview, and a good interview will help you secure the job. 

The Careers & Employability Service have provided information and guidance on the entire recruitment process, from help writing your best CV and application to tips for excelling at interview.  Handouts can be found in firstpoint on the St John’s Campus or downloaded from the myCareer portal.