Don’t career off the track this summer

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The last thing many of us will want to do over summer is think more about our careers and CVs. We get constantly questioned and pressured about this throughout the academic year, and it’s for good reason of course: the more of us landing employment after graduation, the better. Now exams are over though, and Extravs are approaching, and you’re going to the Med in two weeks… well, I don’t blame you if all you can think is “I DON’T CARE!!!”.

Please, if you have five minutes – which I know you do whilst the water for your Pot Noodle boils – read this. Quite frankly your progress doesn’t halt over summer, and no, ‘spent the week smashed in Sunny Beach’ isn’t going to win you your dream job, but don’t brush the notion of future under the carpet entirely. It’s the small things that make a difference, and here’s what you can do to ensure that you feel like you’re still on track with sorting out your life post-graduation. Without much effort. Promise.

At some point, take time out to look over your CV. It’s not exciting, yes, but at the bare minimum it’s taking out old news and putting (excuse this lame, middle-aged-as-hell phrase) the fruits of the last year on some paper. Think of it like journaling your achievements, but with subheadings and bullet points. Remember when you volunteered at the Animal Care place, but you want to work with children? Your time there illustrates your compassion towards small, temperamental, and often dirt-covered things, so stick it on there. It’s just a case of refreshing the account of everything you have done, and as I learnt recently, there is no reason you shouldn’t make it stand out a bit. Don’t go all Elle Woods, but if you want to go into graphic design and your CV looks like an essay plan, then you’ll win no marks on very first impressions – or give an initial idea about the ability you know you have.

It is honestly not too late to bag an internship or work experience. I have a couple of friends that are still looking for these things, and they have applied to plenty of places that still have openings. It’s fair to say that by now you might have missed your chance for what may be you first choice of internship, but say you have an interest in a creative industry, then consider the whole spectrum, from working backstage at a theatre to helping curate exhibitions at a local gallery. If you’re passionate about being creative generally, then you can apply this enthusiasm to several different areas of work, and you definitely will get something out of it.

Alternatively, my friend in med school needed work experience, so he had a couple of weeks at a local funeral directors and then another couple of weeks at hospital where he observed post-mortems. Think outside the box. The more you do, the more you’ve got to talk about. And hey, even if you don’t get anything, find a place at which you can volunteer, or get a summer job somewhere relevant. Even if it’s just about earning money, you can illustrate your dedication to a role, and your willingness to give time to working hard rather than spending the whole summer alternating the surfaces you fall asleep on.

Finally, use the resources we have so readily available: prospects.ac.uk, Lancaster.targetconnect.net, and head to The Base before you leave campus with 2 weeks left to go before summer. All these places have opportunities and advice on what you can do, and there is no harm in asking or searching, right? There really is nothing to lose. To further the ‘asking’ point, network as much as possible. The more people you meet, the better chance you have of someone emailing you an opportunity that may be exactly what you’re looking for.

The bottom line of all of this is, simply, give a s-. The world doesn’t holiday together for July-September, and your dream of making potions for a living is getting to the point where it can actually happen now. It’s little effort to take a day to get paper-you up to speed with you now, google a little, and realise that your mum’s friend Barbara has been making rattan conservatory furniture for the past twenty years now, which is, lo and behold, your dream career!

Get drunk, have fun, get sunburnt (don’t do the last one, but you know what I mean). Come back to uni in October feeling like you did something for yourself over summer, because for some of us, these are the last summers we’ll have. Go forth. Ring Barbara!

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