In this blog post, I will present to you a few simple tips I have, how to improve your CV and heavily increase your chances of gaining a job within an industry you enjoy.
Summer Placements / Part-time Job
This is quite a general and short suggestion, although even if it is working in a superstore or as a receptionist, it will allow you to place very valuable transferable skills on your CV. Then with the fact you have had a job prior to applying, which might give you an edge if you apply for a job.
Although what might also be useful, is if your University offers any jobs on campus, for example, MMU has “Peer Mentor” jobs (through Jobs4Students) amongst many, which the deadline for applications has recently been pushed to the Monday the 22nd of May (2017).
This is an excellent way to increase your skillset and could gain you an award, all of which can be placed on your CV and is likely your University offers them for free, here is a blog post from MMU detailing their activities and “Science and Engineering Extra-Curricular Award”.
Whether you’re a Computer Scientist (which I am) or a Designer/Artist, I recommend you set yourself projects, either individual tasks or group projects. As a programmer, it will ensure that you do not forget how to code, along with the fact that it can improve your problem-solving skills, which is vital for programming and can also lead to learning new functions or ways to do things. As artists, if you post your projects/pieces on social media (including DeviantArt and Tumblr), regularly and using many hashtags, it can gain you a large audience/fanbase, which might commission you for your work.
As a programmer, it will help you if you are challenged to solve a task in your interview, along with the build up your GitHub projects (which I recommend doing and might do a separate post for including). If you have taken part in a group project, you can put “Collaborating with other people” under your skills. Then as an artist, it will also build up a portfolio which you will present to your potential employer.
Near the end of the academic year, all of your Universities Union Societies will be looking for new students to be in the next years Committee. These could be various roles such as “Chair”, “Vice”, “Treasurer” and “Social Media Manager”, which all Societies usually have as a minimum, although particular Societies might have more roles. Any of which you could apply for and place on your CV, along with the skills you have gained by doing so.
Also, it is worth pointing out that Societies usually have categories, one being academic, if the one you are interested in being a part of is so, then there are even more opportunities. Running Workshops/Tutorials is a prime example, if it’s a Computing, Animation or Photography, for instance, then you can run Workshops such as NodeJS, Adobe Animate (previously Flash) or Photoshop, a couple of which I have run in the past.
Networking / Hackathons
If you are in the technology industry, a developer (coder/programmer) or in UX (User eXperience), then especially in the North West (mainly in Manchester and its Northern Quarter), there are plenty of events in which you can go to, to speak to people in industry, technw being a very popular and recommended calendar.
Although this is only from personal experience, create an account on MeetUp and see what events are happening around you, on topics you are interested in, you might be surprised. If you haven’t heard of MeetUp, then, in essence, it is a service (website/app) that allows anyone to create an event, similar to Facebook and create communities around it, although larger events are usually only RSVP-able on Eventbrite (mostly, but not always, being free).
I have placed all the events I have been to on my e-portfolio, so if you are a Developer/Designer and interested in what you could attend, then you can view what I have been to and plan to go to.
Not only does this allow you to place “interpersonal” and “networking” as skills to place on your CV, as a student it could also introduce you to your future employer or give you part time jobs. Personally, I have gained a job interview which recently went successful, through someone I had met and these events, as well as have gained the interest of other future commissioners (helping with websites mainly).