5 ways to further your career over summer break

I’m going to say something controversial here (please forgive me). Summer holidays are really long. And I can only take so much of beaches on hot days, shopping centres on super-hot days, movie theatres (read: air-conditioning) on super, super hot days, as well as sleeping in and not uni-ing. Yes, there’s Summer Term study, and we can fast track our degree, but there are also ways to diversify ourselves to make us more appealing to hire once the degree is done. A lot of this tends to make us better humans as well, so let’s look at all of the ways we can use summer to our advantage.

Volunteering

Not only will volunteering your time to a business or individual in need do good in the world and give you the warm and fuzzies, but it will look freakin’ amazing on your resume when you start going for positions in your chosen field. Seriously, employers love this. It also helps the way you conduct yourself in your career from the knowledge and experience you gain while volunteering.

There are many organisations that can hook you up with volunteer positions. This can range from playing chess with an elderly gentleman to writing grants for animal rescue. Check out https://www.volunteering.nsw.gov.auor the more Hunter region oriented http://www.hvc.org.au/. You can also contact the commonly known organisations that you might have a passion for, like Variety, Red Cross, RSPCA or your local homeless shelter that always need help.

Learn a Language

Learning a language is always going to help you in life, and even if you only recall bits and pieces, it makes it easier to communicate with colleagues overseas or when travelling for work later down the track. I personally learnt Japanese and French in school, fifteen to twenty years ago, and I can still at least count and say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ in those languages. My Year 8 self would be super proud, as she really didn’t think she was paying attention at the time.

What is also a good idea to consider is Auslan. I’ve done this as an elective in my degree with our very own Rodney/Cindy-Lou Auslan team, and I’ve been amazed at all the opportunities I’ve had to use this. Auslan is an important language and can help out with communication overseas not just in the signing community, but the speaking as well.

Up-Skill

Got a goal in mind for the type of teacher/lawyer/doctor/engineer/{insert amazing career here} you want to be? Sure, you could follow the curriculum and you’re qualified, champ!

Or… you could do a couple of short courses to add to your skillset. I mentioned Auslan earlier. Guess what? That’s an upskill, yo! I’m going to be able to use that in my health-related career. There are literally THOUSANDS of things you could do to add value to your skill set. You might decide to do a short course in social media and marketing, or floristry, or something that is relevant, but not necessarily seen in Every. Single. Job Applicant. Do something you can use, but that you’ll also be interested in. Maybe get trained in a specialist program that’s hot in your industry?

Side Hustle

Let’s be real, it sucks being broke. There is honestly only so far that a uni student budget will stretch to. HOWEVER, there is no end to possibilities as to what we can do for a bit of extra cashola. Try to find something generally related to the field you’re studying if you can, it’s going to meat up your resume when you’re applying for work as a new graduate. Studying something with young kids? Look for babysitting/nannying work! Studying something in health? Look for in-home carer work! Studying something to get your creative juices going? Get making and hit the markets and sell your gear! Business and economics related? Sign up to a couple of temp agencies or hit Airtasker! Once you get yourself going with working, you’ll be surprised by how you might be able to fit it in to studying in semester as well. Also, when you apply for a job as a new grad, your employer will be all “OH. So you’re not TOTALLY a new grad. LOOK! You’ve got all this AWESOME, SOMEWHAT-RELATED EXPERIENCE! How could I NOTHIRE YOU?!?!”

Go Travel

The world is growing ever smaller. You know that, I know that. We’re hanging out in our own little patch of paradise, but in the words of The Tramp (Disney’s Lady and the Tramp) “There’s a great big hunk of world there, with no fence around it”. Go explore. Be a citizen of the world… but be back before classes start. So that you can be an educated citizen of the world. This is something that will get you ahead in your career, because it will help create you into someone who thinks on a world-size scale. When was the last time you heard someone say “I wish I didn’t travel so much” when they’re not talking about commuting? Never, that’s when. If you can’t afford it this summer break, save up for winter break. Or next summer. Go explore!

 

So rather than twiddling your thumbs on our magnificent beaches, or sweating it out at the local, give your career a boost, lean in to being a student, and make the most of your break, and the fact we get three month breaks like this!

Your future CV and Boss will love you for it.