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Get Ahead Over Summer

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

17 March 2023

As I write, snow is falling and trying to settle on the wet ground. It seems like it’s been a long winter and as someone who feels the cold, it’s hard to imagine that warmer days will soon be here – at least I’m really hoping so!

When summer comes, what are your plans? If you’re still in degree study, perhaps you will be returning home (if not local to campus)?  Maybe arranging a holiday, caring for family or spending time with friends, or a combination of all of those? Some of you may already be applying for a summer internship or other form of work experience.  So why should work take up some of your well-earned break (apart from the cash)?

Boost your confidence: find your job fit

A bee on a Lavender flower

If you have ideas of what you want to do after your degree but have not yet tried any out to see if they might suit you, working for a few weeks over the summer in a relevant field might help you feel more confident about career decisions. Working with others is also a huge way to gain confidence in yourself and your ability to get on with a job - and make a difference to those employing you.

Make contacts: build your network

You’ll hear it time and time again – sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know.  Everyone has been in your shoes, looking for their first job whether just starting out or career changing.  These days with professional social networking sites, it’s easier than ever to make those important connections.  Work experience can be extremely useful in enabling contact building for immediate and possible future permanent jobs.

Add value to your CV: develop skills, experience and knowledge

What makes your CV stand out from the crowd?  Look at it objectively, from a recruiter viewpoint, and ask yourself if there is anything you could add that would showcase your skills and workplace awareness? As well as helping with your skills development, a short internship or work experience (paid or voluntary) could really help boost your CV and provide you with additional job match evidence for cover letters.

A female student writing on a whiteboard

Summer work: It’s the quality not the quantity

Summer work can be as much or as little as the time you can give – that is up to you.  You may have a part-time job already and not be able to give that up to do something else.  So, be realistic.  The thought of summer work is not meant to give you added stress - more like an opportunity to try something different - so choose what suits your pocket as well as your career goals.  If you need to continue your part-time job as you don’t want to lose it or you are caring for others at home, perhaps you are able to volunteer for 2-3 hours a week (in a relevant field) and possibly even continue that during study. 

Where are the summer jobs?

Everywhere and anywhere.  Here are some ideas to help kickstart your search:

  • Try anyone you know who has a business and might need some help for a few weeks (that’s a win-win!)
  • Talk to current or previous employers – is there any chance of a couple of days work shadowing in an area that suits your interest e.g., Marketing, Finance, Sustainability, Research, Supply Chain, Conservation, Engineering?
  • See the huge range of opportunities on Handshake that are specific to your degree – just type Summer Internships (+ subject) in the search field to see what comes up. Always check close dates and location.
  • Apply to organisations such as NCS as an activity leader with young people – well paid and a popular way to spend 2-3 weeks in the summer and further develop transferable skills.
  • Volunteering counts! And needs to be included in your CV!  For volunteering in a relevant area of interest see Volunteering (angliastudent.com) and book an appointment to discuss opportunities. Search local charities/organisations of interest for any short-term summer activities.
  • Use any specific subject sites or areas of interest to find vacancies e.g., Charity Internship | Cancer Research UK, Internship/traineeship Jobs | Opportunities @ Creative Access, and Gradcracker - Careers for STEM Students.
  • Look out for the Bright Network Internship Experience (just 3 virtual days but so worth it for the skills sessions/projects with top UK employers). Details are usually out in May for June/July bookable dates and The Career Centre will post details.
  • For EDI internships see The Career Centre EDI page listings for examples of useful sites.

Need some help finding and applying?  Look on the Career Centre for a range of CV templates and a CV checker.  And The Employability Service offers individual appointments to discuss your needs with an Adviser including help with applications, interviews and how to approach others through networking.

By Kim Holbrook, Employability & Careers Adviser

Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.