by Abbie Baisden
So the Christmas break is finally here, and undoubtedly your few weeks are jam-packed with a heady mix of homecoming parties, festive frolics and (the not so welcomed) revision and coursework. You should absolutely relish the time you have to relax and unwind after all your hard work in term one. However, just in case you do find yourself having a spare moment in between eating, drinking and being merry, here are a couple of time-filler activities that are also enormously productive in the job-hunting game.
Check your dates
The graduate recruitment world is one that works in seasons and one of the big recruitment application intakes finishes in January. If you do have a lot of work/revision/sleeping to do and don’t possibly have time to complete four-page applications at the moment, at least search through jobs with upcoming deadlines, make a list of the ones that catch your eye and set reminders for when their deadlines are, thus making them easy to locate when you do find yourself at a loose end for half an hour.
Arrange work experience
You can never have too much work experience so try to cram it in whenever possible. The winter break is a great opportunity to find businesses in your hometown that may be able to offer a few days in the office over Christmas, or even arrange a more substantial placement over the next holiday (say, three weeks at Easter). Showing your proactivity and enthusiasm in improving your CV will set you apart to local employers, and let’s be honest many of them will probably have a lot of ‘down-time’ at the moment and will be more likely to take a phone call or an email from a friendly student than when businesses are back to running at full capacity in the New Year.
Are you on LinkedIn yet? No? Well now, there is your problem! Professional networks, and in particular, LinkedIn, are the new go-to devices for recruiters. They offer the opportunity to advertise a role, accept applications and browse suitable applicants all in one convenient space. It’s not only cheap and easy for employers to find people, but it’s also a super-convenient way for you to bring your CV to the attention of the right people. The best way to maximise the potential of your profile is to just play around with it, but we also have some handy profile-building tips to get you started.
Start real-life networking
Unbeknown to many students, in towns across the country people in different industries find other people from their industry and organise events. These events are very often free and have the sole purpose of connecting people within the same industry (quite simple really). They meet in pubs and church halls and other public spaces and have discussions about important things affecting their industry, and they network. Find one of these networks and join in, you don’t have to be already working, you just have to have a keen interest in the topics they discuss and a readiness to talk to strangers. Also, quite often they have free wine and sandwiches!
Rewrite your CV
You are probably sick of hearing this and think that you have included all you possibly can in the two-page document that summarises every skill and attribute you have ever developed, but no CV is perfect. If you are finding that no matter how many applications you make and how many skills listed in the job description you know you have you are still unsuccessful, then rip-up your old CV and start completely afresh. Creating a new document instead of editing an old one will force you to streamline all the important bits into one slick, recruiter-impressing Curriculum Vitae. If you can’t remember what was on it before, it probably isn’t relevant anymore anyway! (Check out our CV writing tips too).
That should be enough activities to tide you over for a while, or at least to use as an excuse when your mum asks you to play Monopoly with your younger cousins, “I’d really love to mum, but I’m just developing my graduate career”. No one can argue with that.
Have a great Christmas, and happy jobhunting!
Abbie Baisden is a marketing assistant at Milkround, blogger on all things regarding graduate careers. Follow Abbie Baisden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/milkroundonline
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.