You may not be graduating for a couple more years, but it is never too early to think about how to boost your resume. We understand that studying can be a difficult period in people’s lives: keeping up with deadlines, socialising with friends, adapting to a new environment, and generally, keeping on top of life. In this blog post, we will be discussing how to improve a CV/resume while studying for a degree alongside, and even making the most of all the other things going on in your life.

Check out the guide below to find out how to craft a good resume.

The Problem

In the increasingly competitive job market, it can be challenging to score your dream job. Although you may have received some outstanding grades already, your application could be lacking in experience. Ergo, you should start investing time and effort to boost your CV/resume with work experience, demonstrating to employers that you are the perfect candidate for the role.

With so many students and graduates on the hunt for a job, you should explore ways in how to stand out from the crowd. Thinking about the foundation of your career while you’re still studying is already a good start.

There are a number of ways in which you can catch employers’ attention at university, even if they are unaware of who you are.

How do you get your first experience when any role requires experience?

Getting a job with very limited or no prior experience is tough, and for most people, it is unlikely they will land that dream job in the first instance. In this classic catch-22 situation, it can be very disheartening to be unemployed, especially after graduation as it is a time where many people feel like they are ready to take on the job market. Nonetheless, with self-reliance, confidence, and a strong work ethic, it is possible to attain a job with limited experience.

How?

Look for Internships

If you are having trouble finding an employer that will give you a foot in the door, internships are an excellent way to gain experience. The Independent indicates that career and recruitment experts prefer candidates who have gained relevant internship experience.

After all, the majority of them allow you to get hands-on experience, and acquire first-hand knowledge of the people and the organisation. They are also useful for building up a network of important contacts. Additionally, a number of internships are paid, with some even leading to permanent employment. In 2012, Higher Fliers Research indicated that approximately 33% of entry-level positions were taken by graduates who had already worked for the company during their internship/placement.

The Guardian also believes that relevant internships look great on your resume. It can assist in helping employers and recruiters to identify you as a stand out from your competition. Although the majority of internships vary in length, they do provide a good background in what you can expect to do in your sought out job sector. However, be cautious as competition for these can be incredibly fierce. Nonetheless, if you are a recent graduate, you are more likely to gain a graduate-level job if you have relevant work experience gained from an internship or work placement. Virtual Internships offer students and graduates real-life job opportunities – click here to find out more.

Even if you can secure work experience, how do you balance it with studying, time, and location?

Finding work opportunities during your studies can be difficult. However, if you do find one, it can be demanding, trying to balance both an academic life and gaining work experience.

Some may be more flexible and informal, whilst others are more structured. Thus, for many work experiences, it is important to plan and manage them thoroughly. Although keeping and sticking to a schedule is difficult, it will be worth it as you can better prepare yourself when you are juggling a job and trying to maintain good grades.

We advise you to plan out your semester in advance. For instance, by going through the syllabus and figuring out what needs to be done, you can have more time to plan and organise your job around your schedule, budgeting enough time to study and keeping up with a social life. The last part is important – we don’t want you to feel like you are missing out on anything!

Essentially, it is down to planning your time effectively. Taking on extra responsibility will not necessarily pull your grades down, but you will need to be highly organised in order to succeed. Plan your week with a diary; if you know you have exams during certain times of the year, like the summer period, let your company know in advance to avoid certain difficult obstacles.

Volunteer

The Independent advises that volunteering is another great way to improve your resume. Not only does it allow you to help the community, but it also provides you with opportunities to meet an array of people and understand more about the world around us. Although some students do not consider volunteering, doing so while studying can enhance your resume further. In fact, being a volunteer at an organisation while you are at university gives you a number of skills. For example, you can:

  • Gain real-life work experience while being part of something meaningful
  • Give back to the community
  • Make a difference in someone’s life
  • Help the environment or those less fortunate
  • Receive a great character reference

The Guardian advises that if you perform well in a volunteer position when no one is paying you, employers will paint a positive picture of you as someone who goes above and beyond. It speaks volumes about the type of person you are, and as someone who is committed to doing a great job.

Join Societies and Clubs

Another valuable experience that you can gain while studying is joining societies and sports clubs at your university. After all, when you’re writing a CV, many people often struggle to include exciting aspects of their life.

There is an abundance of societies and sports clubs at university – from badminton to rugby, to even Quidditch! By taking part and being an active member of your university, you display to employers your hobbies, which can, in turn, reflect your skills. For instance, these could be: setting up events for your society to attend, creating marketing materials to promote and attract new members to sign up, being the secretary and handling the money. These skills can show employers you are:

  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Trustworthy
  • Communicative
  • Motivated
  • Flexible

These are all traits we all aspire to.

Summer Opportunities

For many of us, we love the summer, and it is the perfect excuse to sit back, relax, and do whatever we want. We understand that it is tempting to sleep in until midday, stay in the house in your comfort clothes while watching something on Netflix, or to just catch up with friends over drinks. However, if you can put yourself into a dedicated mindset, a part-time job or summer internship can do wonders for your CV/resume.

The BBC reports that for many graduate employers, they will be seeking individuals who have had some level of experience in their industry. By gaining a summer internship, it indicates to the employers that you want to go into that career sector. In fact, by devoting your time during the summer, you are showing the employer that you are serious about your career and want to succeed. Most companies love recruiting hard-working employees who go above and beyond, even in their spare time.

Virtual Internships

Remote internships are available to students and graduates who want to gain work experience in their careers. They are beneficial for those who may be unable to travel as much, those who are busy with studying, and those who want to work in an environment of their own choice.

Moreover, the consensus is that they are an excellent opportunity to advance your resume. Interning full-time or part-time around your studies from your home, university campus or café has never been more convenient. By having access to a computer or electronic device, and a reliable WiFi connection, you can learn and acquire great skills while exhibiting your capabilities to employers. For internships, such as those partnering with Virtual Internships, you will be in regular contact with mentors who will teach and train you the necessary skills. This can help you hit the ground running with the host company, as well as help develop the skills needed to pursue your career goals. Thus, whatever sector you want to work in, internships can be invaluable and aid in adding further experience to your CV/resume.