Six ways to enhance future career prospects over the summer holidays

A few weeks into the summer holidays, students will hopefully be starting to feel relaxed and refreshed after all their hard work during the GCSE and A Level exam period.  With a month of holidays left to look forward to, many will be seeking opportunities to give them a head-start in their chosen careers or in the work place in general. Here, Mark Jones, Principal at Gower College Swansea, looks at six ways students across Swansea could make the most of their free time this summer to boost future career prospects.

Get a part time job - It might seem obvious, but getting paid work over the summer is one of the best ways to prove to future employers that you have the fundamental skills needed to excel in the workplace. It’s well worth printing some concise, up-to-date CVs and taking the time to visit shops and restaurants to explain you’re looking for work over the summer.  Many places will respond better to this approach than online applications, and not every vacancy is advertised.  A part time job will improve your communications skills, test your ability to work under pressure, and give you the experience to work as a team player, all of which are attributes future employers will be keen to see.

Start a blog or vlog - This remains one of the best ways to give yourself an online presence in your field of interest, and if done well, a blog can lead to a variety of job opportunities in the future.  Blogs provide the opportunity to intelligently express your opinion through a medium that key figures in that field can engage with.  It’s a great way to develop and exhibit your communication skills, and will prove to employers that you can work to self-set deadlines, as well as express a growing interest and understanding of their industry.

Be strategic on social - It’s never too early to get set up on LinkedIn, and don’t let a lack of work experience put you off.  You can use your profile to portray your educational background, any specific interests you might have, and what your career aspirations are.  LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with groups and companies in areas you’re interested in, and you may be able to get in touch with contacts who could help you along the way. 

Volunteer - When it comes to volunteering, there are so many opportunities you could explore this summer, especially if your free time is limited and you can’t commit to daily or weekly commitments. Whether its charity work, helping at local events, or getting involved with youth sports teams, the options are vast – and you can learn new skills that will be transferable to future careers, as well as having a positive sociological impact.

Practice Performing - And join a youth theatre, band, or drama group.  You don’t have to be a seasoned performer to get involved, and performing arts can be a fantastic way of having fun and making friends.  It’s also an excellent way to get used to speaking in front of an audience – a key skill sought after by employers – and will do wonders for your confidence.

Apply for work experience - While often unpaid, this can be one of the fastest ways into future employment within a chosen field, and work experience opportunities can provide you with the necessary contacts and all-important content for your CV that can make a real difference in the future.  Pick up the phone and ask the question; you will never be criticised for enthusiasm and showing initiative.  Firms will often offer short-term placements with real responsibilities, and there may be further opportunities for paid work if you perform well. 

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