Applying for placements or graduate roles with a CV that’s barely there? We hate to break it to you, but your chances of being successful are very slim. It’s not all bad news though, because you can do something about it – the answer is to get some work experience!
Now, before you tell us you already did a work experience week in Year 10, hear us out. There’s no such thing as too much work experience and the great thing is, employers want to see it on your CV. In fact, in a lot of placement and graduate interviews, the employers won’t just focus on your degree – they’ll be just as interested in what you’ve done outside of your studies.
With that in mind, here are five ways you can get work experience and turn your CV into one that will make employers say ‘I need to hire this person immediately’. You’re welcome.
Get a part-time job
Part-time jobs are flipping great. Not only are they are a way to gain some real-life work experience, you can use them to explore some industries you may be interested in, you can fit them around your studies and you get paid – great if you need to make the student loan stretch even further!
There are so many areas you can find jobs in too such as retail, hospitality, administration, tutoring, interpreting and more. There tend to be various on-campus roles advertised throughout the year too, such as working in various university support services or as a brand ambassador for a particular company, so keep your eyes peeled.
Looking for something to do in your spare time that will help you give back to the community? Then volunteering is your answer! There are so many amazing campaigns and charities that are always looking for volunteers, so have a look at what help people or organisations in the local area need.
What’s also awesome is that you can add volunteering to your CV! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if the experience isn’t degree-related, employers won’t want to know – because the exact opposite is true. Employers will be impressed by your motivation to do something for a good cause and the transferable skills you’ll pick up from it. Basically, we can’t recommend volunteering enough.
Look for a short-term internship
These guys tend to take place over the spring or summer breaks. If you’re looking to get some work experience that’s related to your degree or in your chosen industry then we highly recommend you have a look at what internships are currently up for grabs.
As well as boosting your CV, internships are a brilliant way to get a sneak-peak at a particular company to see if it – or even the industry itself – is one you want to pursue a career in. Think of them as a way to test-run a placement or graduate job – it’s better to learn now that you don’t want to work in a certain field rather than realising that just after you’ve moved to a new country and started a year-long placement doing something you don’t enjoy.
Join societies or clubs
Think these are nothing but a fun way to spend a Wednesday afternoon with your pals? Think again. If you’re a member of a society or club then add it to your CV. Seriously. You’ll be surprised how many interviewers will be interested to hear about your extra-curricular activities. Are you a hockey player? This shows you’re a great team player so whack it on your CV. On the committee for a society? That’s an indication that you’re dedicated to something you’re passionate about – mention in in your interview then. President of a club or society? You possess great leadership qualities. So, you guessed it, mention it in your applications.
If you’re not currently a member of anything, do not fret. There are over 130 student-led groups here at Aston, so you’re bound to find something relevant to your interests. And you can sign up to them at any point throughout the year – there’s no time like the present then, eh?
Do a placement year
Doing a placement may be compulsory for your course but even if it’s not, we highly recommend you do one. Why’s that, we hear you ask? For starters, you’ll graduate with a years’ worth of experience, which will give you the edge when you enter the working world after university. Plus, you’ll develop your skills, experience something new, gain industry connections and hopefully have fun! You can’t lose.
There are different types of placement you can do: work in the UK, work or study overseas or an enterprise placement. You can also split your year up and do multiple shorter placements. Our amazing team of Placement Coordinators are here to help you figure all of this out, so go and have a chat with them.
Whew, so there’s a lot of things there you can add to your to-do list. As always though, we are here to help you explore and apply for what’s out there. Make paying a visit to the JobShop a number one priority on your list, and also take a look at our upcoming events on Aston Futures – we’ve got loads planned to help you find roles and to get advice for smashing applications.
Written by Jodie Carpenter, Careers+Placements