By the time it comes to writing your CV for job applications after you graduate, lots of students come to the realisation that they do not have much to talk about. The idea of a CV is that you are able to show the soft skills you have gained from various activities whether that be part-time work, volunteering, etc.

Some universities will push you to take part in these sorts of activities that boost your skills, others not so much. So, this is where you need to take your CV into your own hands and start gaining experience that you can use and talk about in interviews.

Students have around 3 months off for summer, so this leaves plenty of spare time to figure out what sorts of activities you want to take part in.


Camp America

Personally, having taken part in the Camp America program, I highly recommend. Not only is it a great experience to talk about in interviews from all the skills gained, but it also makes you stand out form the crowd when recruiters are looking at your CV.

On top of building on your soft skills, you are earning money and getting to meet lots of new people. You also get the option to travel for a month afterwards so if this is something you want to do, you can work at camp and save money so that you can travel after.

International summer school

Summer school is another great way to build your CV. Ideally, you want to take a class that is of a similar topic to the industry you want to work in. For example, if you want to be an accountant, look out for summer schools offering courses in maths, economics, business, etc.

Lots of universities partner with international universities and put on a summer school program over summer. These courses can range from a week to around a month, so it is ideal if you only want it to take up 2 weeks of your summer. Again, this is a great way to meet new people and travel around.

If your university does not run any summer school programs then you can still attend by searching online and seeing what is on offer.

The only downside of this activity is that sometimes it can be slightly costly. If this is the case then do some research and see if there are any online courses available. These are great if you are struggling with flexibility as they can usually be done in your own time. The Bright Network offer multiple virtual internships which can be done live by joining the live call or an alternative version can be done in your own time. These usually run over summer so be sure to check these out.

Volunteering/ International volunteering

Volunteering is such an easy option and can usually be done around your current summer plans. Try reaching out to your local church or look online at local communities to see if they offer any volunteering. Most places would love the help! Lots of primary schools are mostly happy to accept volunteers if you give them enough time in advance. Ask around your family and friends to see if they know of anywhere that needs volunteers.

International volunteering is a great activity to build your CV and always grabs the attention of recruiter’s. Volunteer HQ is a website that helps places you an an international location where volunteers are needed. This is a great site as it means everything has already been checked out and you know you are in safe hands. Programs can run from 1 week up until however long you want to volunteer for. Some programs can run for 12 weeks which will cover all of your summer.

Summer internship/ International internship

Lots of people try and secure placements with last 12 months after their second year of university. For some this is a great opportunity to get paid to gain some real-life work experience. For others who are not wanting to turn their degree into 4 years, you can look at internships. Lots of companies will offer summer internships which last a few weeks long during summer. Internships are mostly unpaid unlike placements, but you might get lucky!

Alternatively, you can try reaching out to companies to see if they will offer you unpaid work experience which will act like an internship.

If you are wanting to go that bit further and stand out on your CV, then why not do an internship abroad. There are lots of different programs and schemes that run externally from any universities who can help you find a summer internship in multiple countries around the world. However, due to their help, you often have to pay for these programs. The Intern Group is a great company that can find you a place. They help you through the application process and work on your CV and skills with you. They also help find the best internship for you.

If you are looking to do a placement year, then scoring an internship after your first year of university will give you a very good chance of securing a placement role.

Final Thoughts

Building your CV is essential when it comes to job hunting as the competition is bigger than ever. Recruiters will look at thousands of CVs, so you really need to write down some things that make you stand out or something that shows that you are the most suited to the role. Work experience is your industry is usually much more preferred when applying for jobs and placements, so internships are a great way to gain some of this over summer.

Of course, do make sure you take time to relax and have a break after your deadlines and exams as the end of university can be a very stressful time of year!

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