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Make your summer break count

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

20 May 2021

Alongside a well-deserved break, the summer vacation is also a great opportunity to explore career ideas and to grow employability confidence.

With lockdown easing there are lots of summer internships and volunteering roles (both in person and virtual) open for application right now. For example, the new Bright Network and ARU Internships are a great chance to gain career skills and explore where your degree can take you.

Set summer goals

Person blowing dandelion seeds

Before you dive into job hunting, take a moment to decide what you’d like to achieve this summer. Start by reflecting on your CV and making a list of short-term goals. For example, you might set a goal to boost your CV by gaining paid or voluntary work this summer. Or aim to gain insights to a dream job, or more practice using your technical skills. Goal setting in this way will help you to have a stronger sense of purpose and focus in your summer job hunting.

Identify opportunities

Make a list of keywords associated with each summer goal. For example, if you want to gain experience of working with people, note down words such as 'communication', 'teamwork' and 'customer service'. Then use your skill shopping list to create tailored job alerts on sites such as Career Centre, Gradcracker, and Student Job, and feature these keywords on your LinkedIn, CV and profile on job sites. Invest time in job hunting admin like this, and you will soon have opportunity knocking on your inbox.

If you have a specific career in mind, for example if you want to work with young people, you could apply for say, a paid opportunity at NCS. Or perhaps you are interested in working in mental health and to gain experience and insight, will apply for ongoing voluntary work that starts in the summer, eg as a Listening Volunteer with the Samaritans.

Make it happen

Painting of a sunflower

Don’t be shy, use your friends, family and other networks to help you to identify opportunities. Follow companies you admire on social media and be brave and write to express keen interest in any work/volunteering opportunities, alongside a tailored CV. Ask advice from friends, lecturers and share your summer goals so that they can keep an eye out for opportunities too. Register your interest in temporary work with ARU Temps and remember your ARU Employability team is here to help you embrace these exciting opportunities. Use CV360 and book an appointment to get support with summer job applications. We also run events and workshops throughout the summer.

Make it count

Once you’ve got a summer job in the bag, congratulations. Start getting excited at the chance to grow your employability confidence as tall as a summer sunflower!

  • Get networking with colleagues, asking questions that help you to understand more about the sector and where you want to build your career. Employers will appreciate your positive ‘can do’ attitude, enthusiasm and keen interest.
  • Create a job log to capture your experiences: What did you learn today? What skills did you develop or apply? These notes will be great STAR stories to use on your CV and future interviews, and will help you to notice as your career confidence sunflower grows taller every day.

For help with making summer plans, email [email protected] to talk through ideas and applications with an adviser.

By Khrieu Healy, 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.