Put down the family-sized bag of Dorito's and switch off Netflix - it's time to start being productive!

At the risk of you slapping your hands over your ears and humming loudly - it’s almost the end of the university year. I know, I’m sorry, but I can’t lie, the end is near and it’s starting to stalk you in the same predatory manner with which you target the chip van with after a night out.

Still, after the season that shall not be named, comes the longest summer that most of us will ever experience. Here, we are faced with a tidal wave of free time and widely varying finances. Whether you spend your summer in Ibiza doing things your mum will never hear about because you assured her you’ll stick to the ‘nice’ part or if you’re just staying at home, you’re still going to have a month or so of free time. Now that’s a lot of time to spend in Spoons, or it’s a lot of time to spend building your skills and putting yourself ahead of the competition in the hunt for your first real, post-uni job. But what can you do to decorate your CV like a glorious Mary Berry gâteau?

1. Summer job

Show off how amazingly responsible and good at adulting you are by getting a job over summer. Not only will this provide some savings (or spendings) for September, it will provide a name to give as a reference for more important, future job applications. If you’ve never had a job before, this can be a really useful experience in terms of going through application processes and interviews.

2. Internship/Work experience

Now, this is different to a summer job in the sense that an internship is supposed to be more relevant to the field that you’re actually interested in. If you want to go into journalism, become a summer intern at your local paper; if you want to be a vet, do some work experience at your local animal hospital. Think ‘office’ over burger flipping or shelf stacking - those are more summer jobs (good jobs all the same but ones that you do in order to get money rather than insight into the business).  

3. Actually write a CV

How are you supposed to wow everyone with a list of your crowning achievements if you never put computer ink to paper? (Please don’t handwrite your CV unless you’re applying to be a medieval calligrapher). There are hundreds of websites out there that offer brilliant guides to constructing a show-stopper of a curriculum vitae. If you don’t have much experience you’ll need to pad your CV with activities such as babysitting, which is a great job to start off with as it provides solid references from parents (avoid asking people whose kids you pumped full of sugar and violent video games).

4. Volunteer

Let everyone know you’re an angel walking the Earth to end world hunger by offering your time free of charge to a worthy cause. Again, try to stay relevant to your target career - for example, if you want to be a teacher, volunteering at a kids’ club is a great way to go.

5. Build your skills

Take a short course in something that interests you. Learn first aid or sign language, preferably something you will receive an official qualification for. I’m sure your online interpretive dance for dogs course was just super but if you had to print the misspelt certificate out yourself, I probably wouldn’t put it on my CV.

6. Expand your network

These days, who you know is just as important as what you can do. Start making lists of potential contacts and if you’re coming up short, work on expanding it. Tools like Twitter and LinkedIn are perfect for finding people in specific companies or career roles. Social media allows you to follow professionals through their careers and also find out where your idols started off.

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