Making the most of the summer break

Tracey Dall
Monday 4 July 2022

Read our top tips on how to get involved, improve your employability skills and enhance your career prospects over the summer months.

At last, the summer is finally here, and you will be looking forward to a well-deserved rest, and to recharge your batteries prior to the start of next semester.

Many students advise us that they wish they had more on their CV or that they had accomplished more during their time at university and over the summer. This is often said at the stage when the student has recognised the relationship between getting involved and employability but, as important as that is, there is more to making the most the summer months than employability alone. Personal development is key – by undertaking new activities you’ll:

  • have fun
  • meet new people and make new friends
  • find out what you’re good at and what makes you happy
  • challenge yourself
  • push yourself outside your comfort zone
  • develop new skills and improve your existing ones

If you have some spare time on your hands this summer, choosing what to do with that time can sometimes be difficult.  Start by setting yourself goals to work out what you want to achieve.  Consider learning a new skill, eg learning a new language; meeting people from other cultures and backgrounds; making a positive difference by volunteering. Write down a list which you can refer to and make sure your decision reflects what you want to achieve.

Whatever your situation, we want to share some of the ways we believe you can make the most of your time off. Here are a few suggestions:

Apply for a part-time job

Apart from making some extra cash, part-time work can help you:

  • build valuable skills, such as in time management, communication and teamwork, which can be useful when applying to roles after you graduate.
  • make connections with others and build your network
  • enhance your personal development.

If you plan to stay in St Andrews over the summer, regularly check CareerConnect for part-time jobs. Search for ‘vacancies’, and filter ‘vacancy type’ by ‘Look Local’.

Indeed, Totaljobs and Save the Student can also be helpful. Some smaller, local employers may decide not to advertise their vacancies electronically, but within their own stores, so enquiring in-person may be worthwhile.

Volunteer

Students choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons.  For some it provides an opportunity to find out more about a sector or an organisation, to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.  For others it offers the chance to give something back to the university, their community or make a difference to the people around them.  Whatever your motivation, volunteering can give you the edge in a competitive job market.  Read the career sector page on charity and voluntary work for further advice.

Fife Voluntary Action are currently recruiting volunteers to support The 150th Open, being held in St Andrews from 10-17 July.

Work shadow

These are usually unpaid opportunities which you set up yourself, allowing you to spend a short period of time (from one day to two weeks) observing a member of staff and/or undertaking basic duties in an organisation. It is a way to gain better understanding of job, sector or potential employer. Some large employers, mainly in finance and law, advertise structured taster days for 1st and 2nd year students, and graduates – check the websites of employers who interest you.

Network

There are several ways you can connect with others to network, make useful contacts and enhance your future career prospects.

These include:

  • Contacting employers and organisations that interest you. Ask if they have any work experience opportunities available over the next few months.  Read our advice on making speculative applications for further details.
  • Sign-in to SaintConnect – the University’s exclusive, global, online community.
  • Join the St Andrews University Alumni group to network with St Andrews graduates.

Update your CV

To market yourself and maximise your chance of obtaining a job interview, you will need to have an up-to-date CV.  The Careers Centre has some great advice on how to write a CV, as well as some examples.  Login to CareerSet, and receive immediate, AI-generated feedback on your CV. Remember too that you can have your CV checked by a CV Adviser over the summer – book via CareerConnect.

And finally …

Don’t  panic if you’re not spending the summer doing a work placement related to your chosen career – there are plenty of other opportunities available.  Just remember to visit the Careers Centre when you return, and we will help you make your experiences stand out on your CV. Prospects also provides lot of good advice on how to make the most of the summer break.

The Careers Centre is open all year round and you can book appointments with our Careers Advisers or CV Advisers.

Whatever you decide to do over the summer months, take some time to relax and enjoy yourself! The Careers Team wish you all the best and we look forward to welcoming you back in first semester.

Related topics

Share this story


Leave a reply

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.