With exams and essays over for the year, you can now relax for the summer! However, as appealing as it can be to take off the entire summer, it might also be a good idea to be maximising your break to make sure you’re taking time off at the same time to further your work experience or hobbies.
This doesn’t need to be a strict rule for everyone, but here are just some ideas to maximise your summer that range from focusing on your career development, more for those going into final year, or to just using your time to practice a skill or find a new hobby.
Focusing on career development:
1. Learn a new skill for your CV. You can use your time to expand your skill set to further your CV, especially if you’re going into your final year and need to think about applying for graduate jobs.
2. Get an internship or work experience. As you can guess, taking what you’ve learnt and furthering it through an actual job during the summer will look great on your CV and will help you build valuable connections and determine what career you want.
3. Sort your CV out. A lot of these options involve participating in things that can improve your CV, but this is futile if your CV is not up-to-date and a mess. Take the time to make sure its updated, clear and professional so that when it comes to applying for jobs you only need to make small tweaks. This way when you start back in September you are ready to book a CV checker appointment with the careers team.
Maximizing your time:
1. Try a new hobby or indulge in your existing ones. Not all summer needs to be dedicated to still studying or getting your CV ready. Explore your interests and creativity because hobbies can be something employers ask about to see if you are a well-rounded person.
2. Work a summer job. You don’t need to get specific work experience in the career path you ideally want. Having any summer job can bolster your transferable skills such as communication, organisation and administration skills which employers will be looking for.
3. Volunteer. Find opportunities in your local community or join a volunteers travel program to apply your skills and education through hands-on, meaningful learning.
4. Work on a weakness. Take the time to realise what weaknesses you have as a student or as a professional and take the time to improve it. For example, this could be public speaking or your organisation.
5. Catch up on summer reading or get ahead of the following term. Taking the time to make sure you won’t start the new year behind can make a huge difference to how the rest of your year goes. It is also a good habit to try and get ahead of your reading list so try and email lecturers or read books in the topics you think could be coming up.
6. Take a summer course. There are lots of places you can do free online courses. As a University of Reading student you can access LinkedIn Learning for free as well. Make sure you add your University email address to get access.
7. Join Career Smart. If you are going into your final year of study, or starting a masters you can take the University of Reading’s online course to help you start your final year prepared to make graduate job applications. Find out more.
You can also read some of our previous blogs that might help you get ready for the new term in September like our placement year advice blog for if you’re considering this option, or getting focused on the early recruitment process of some companies, or reading about ways to manage your mental health before returning for a new year.
Whilst it is important to stay career focused and catch up on any work for university, it’s vital that you also use the time to recuperate and rest. Take the time to go for a walk or meet up with your friends at a park or even just take the evening off to watch the movie you’ve been wanting to see for a while. Your mental health is as important as well as your physical wellbeing so listen to your body and try to destress whilst enjoying the sunshine!