We won’t lie: securing that first job fresh out of university can be tough, even with a shiny new degree to your name. Many graduate jobs require experience, but the key to earning that experience is by securing the job in question.
It’s a baffling situation to find yourself in, but the good news is, there are many different things you can do that’ll help spruce up your CV, set you apart from other applicants, and stand you in good stead once you’ve earned your degree.
So, whether you’ve recently graduated or you’re still in university, this handy collection of employability-boosting ideas is here to help make that future job hunt a success, whatever sector you’re planning to work in.
1. Start a new hobby
It may seem like picking up a new hobby won’t be helpful when it comes to your employability, but hiring managers and recruiters are always on the lookout for applicants who make use of their time with interesting activities and hobbies. Additionally, starting a new hobby shows initiative and demonstrates a passion for learning, helping to fill in your hobbies and interests’ section with something other than “watching Netflix”.
Whether it’s taking up an instrument, getting to grips with creative endeavours such as painting, sewing and photography, or starting a book club over Zoom, the opportunities to broaden your hobby horizons are practically endless.
You could even use your free time to learn how to code. IT skills are in short supply right now, so even a grasp of writing basic website code can give you an advantage over other candidates, and may even increase the number of jobs that are available to you.
2. Take a short online course
Taking an online course in a subject of your choosing is not only a great way to learn something new, but it also keeps your CV in peak condition when it’s time to start applying. And right now, there’s certainly no shortage of online courses for you to get busy with.
Available in a range of subjects, there’s something for everyone, whether it’s a foreign language, a particular field of marketing or a class to help keep your mathematics skills on point. It doesn’t have to be related to your chosen career field either; any subject you take will demonstrate to employers your drive and desire to learn something new.
Unsure what to study or where to study? Take a look at eight of the best online resources to help you learn new skills.
3. Clean up your social media
Having recently graduated from university, there’s a good chance your Facebook profile is filled with pictures of you having a good time over the past 3 (or more) years. And while we’re certainly not begrudging anyone for having fun while they were a student, if you’re serious about the job search, you may want to think about culling some of the more interesting photos of yourself.
Future employers will likely take a look at your social media accounts, so it’s a good idea to give them a spruce up just in case. At the very least, you can always set your profiles to private if you don’t want certain pictures getting unwanted attention.
Give your name a Google Image Search and see what it gives you in return; if the results give you a shock, then you can easily ask to have the photos removed entirely. Likewise, if there are any old posts or tweets with bad language or controversial comments, then we’d recommend deleting these.
You could even go a step further and create a new set of social media accounts that are dedicated to professional matters. Doing so shows you’re digitally switched on when it comes to your chosen industry, and ensures that employers are only seeing the professional side of you.
Get yourself involved with LinkedIn too. Fine-tune your profile, interact with your connections (you never know where this might lead to), and share relevant industry content you find noteworthy or even something you’ve created yourself.
4. Start volunteering
Volunteering is always a good look on a CV and gives you plenty to talk about when you’re at interview. It doesn’t have to be related to your career either; it’s the transferable skills and experiences you’ll gain as a result that are more important.
To find out what you can do, search Do-it and Do-it from home. Social distancing is still in place, so certain community or group projects might be unavailable, but there are still lots of things you can do that involve volunteering online or doing tasks on your own in your area.
You might consider becoming a telephone or virtual volunteer for a charity or the NHS, for instance, or you could even collect shopping or medicines for vulnerable people.
5. Learn another language
Having an extra language in your skillset is a great thing to have if you’re looking to stand out. International business is increasingly important, and with companies having offices across the world, proficiency in a foreign language is certainly going give you an advantage over others, providing you with a greater choice of jobs in the process too.
It shows hard work and dedication on your part, and is a further demonstration to employers of your commitment to furthering your qualities. Whether it’s Duolingo or a more formal online course you opt for, a new language can be a huge addition to any CV.
6. Start your own blog
Whether you’re a keen creative or someone who’s passionate about their chosen industry, a blog is a great way of boosting your chances of employment. For starters, it shows you’re adept at conceiving new ideas, whatever your blog is on (though obviously, some topics will appeal more to recruiters than others).
Secondly, by regularly maintaining it and creating content, it demonstrates your commitment to something you’re passionate about. And through increasing the blog’s visibility, it shows you’re familiar with the workings of social media marketing and the understanding of a target audience too.
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