How to up Your CV at University
One of the more painful things about committing to studying a degree full time is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for you to get that much needed experience you’ll be asked to write about when trying to get your fancy graduate job. In my first year I rewrote and redesigned my CV and have spent the following months bulking it up. Here are some tips to beef up your CV game whilst acing your degree.
Most universities have volunteering initiatives and rewards for those who exceed certain thresholds of volunteering hours. You shouldn’t just volunteer for your CV however, try to find a cause you are really passionate about because if you have lots to say about it employers will love to see that enthusiasm from you and you will feel far more enriched doing it. You could also volunteer for an organisation relating to your degree subject area. For example I have volunteered for a gallery and photography network to learn more about the creative industry I want to work in.
This is an easy tick but try and be active in societies that really reflect who you are as a person. This is great for that awkward ‘interests’ section in your CV where the only that pops to mind can often be going to Starbucks with your friends. You could even run to become a member of a society’s committee and get some experience in a leadership role.
Student Ambassador and Mentoring Roles
If like me you fancy a job that is flexible around your studies, try applying for a role at your university such as being a student ambassador. You’ll often be able to pick and choose shifts around your studies and get lots of training. You may also get the opportunity to take on leadership roles. It can be competitive trying to get these jobs but it will always be worth it and really does look good on your CV.
Organising Events and Exhibitions
Not necessarily just for arts and events management students. Putting on any kind of fundraising, society event or exhibition shows many positive personal attributes that lots of employers are looking for. Such as leadership and management skills, determination and being able to work in a team.
Become a brand ambassador
I have only heard of this being done through Campus Industries which is an organisation that employees student ambassadors to promote brands at their university. Brands include Smirnoff, NME and The Economist who pay students to promote their brands on campus. You are often in charge of creating your own marketing strategies and are paid through commission or an hourly wage. However this kind of experience would be great for anyone who wants a career in marketing, business or events management.
Create a blog/start making videos
This is one of those extras that can make a huge difference. In the age of social media having a strong personal brand is something employers take into consideration more and more. It’s not necessarily about follower numbers but rather how a person represents themselves as an individual across their networks both on and offline. Having a blog for example shows that you are seizing the opportunity to share your voice with the world. Just think when an employer googles your name what do you want them to see?
I have said this before but if you have free access to lynda.com through your university use it! If not look for MOOCs online and other courses you can take alongside your studies to up your professional skillset. If you are doing a creative degree there are likely to be software courses on offer in applications that are the industry standard for your degree path. Having proof you can use these at a professional level before graduating will put you head and shoulders above other applicants.
Get a real job?
You can’t avoid it forever. No matter how tedious, any real life experience looks good to a potential employer and shows you are motivated and a hard worker. If you are a creative you could also try going freelance at university to earn money doing what you love. As a photographer I have taken events photography opportunities and built contacts to guarantee periods of paid work during each semester.
So get savvy! Being at university is like being in a bubble but just remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. Take opportunities and make the most of your remaining years of freedom.