How to make the most of your summer vacation

Develop your employability skills…

With exams over and the summer vacation stretching before you, it may be tempting to switch off and take a well-deserved break before it’s back to the grindstone in the autumn term. And of course, balancing work with some time out to relax is an important factor in helping to maintain your wellbeing. However, you may find that after a week or two of inactivity you are twiddling your thumbs and eager to get on with something productive. So how can you make the most of your summer vacation? Read on for some ideas that will not just fill your free time but will also develop your skills and employability to make you more competitive when applying for your next steps after graduating – whether that be going into employment or further study.


It’s not too late to find an internship and gain some valuable work experience. Although many students will have secured internships earlier in the year, some employers are still advertising for positions this summer. It’s worth checking out the various jobs boards, such as Bright Network, Gradcracker, Rate my Placement, Target Jobs, for example for opportunities. However, if you can’t find something advertised that suits your requirements, availability or area of interest, there are other options you can consider…

Virtual internships and virtual work experience

Virtual internships such as Bright Network’s Internship Experience UK (IEUK) allow you to explore career possibilities and gain a competitive edge without leaving the comfort of your own home. Or try a free virtual work experience programme via website which hosts a range of job simulations in a wide range of sectors.

Paid work

A summer job can be a valuable addition to your CV, whether it is directly related to your chosen career path or not. Paid work in any sector, and even at entry level such as a shop floor role or bar work, will give you opportunities to evidence your transferable skills that all employers are looking for, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, problem-solving and customer service.

Freelance work

Tap into your entrepreneurial skills and consider enterprises such as pet sitting, tutoring, upcycling, or selling online – all great ways to show your independence, motivation and drive.


Employers will value the skills demonstrated by volunteering

Work doesn’t have to be paid to be of value. Volunteering not only develops your skillset but also enables you to contribute to your local community – a great trait that will appeal to future employers. To find out more about reasons to volunteer and ideas for how to do it, read the What Uni? Ultimate guide to student volunteering.

Online courses

Perhaps there is a skill you have always wanted to learn. Or you are keen to explore a career area of which you have little experience. Why not look for an online course? Coursera, Future Learn and Udemy are just some examples of providers you could explore. However, remember to keep an eye on costs – some may be free to access while others may charge varying prices. Warwick University IT services provide free training for all students at the university – see more about IT Training here.

Pursuing your hobbies and interests

Completing a personal project – such as writing a blog, building a website, learning to code or taking up photography – is another way of developing and showcasing your skills and can be added to your CV or discussed in future interviews and applications to illustrate how you meet the essential requirements for further study or employment.


Perhaps you have planned a holiday but aren’t sure how this could develop your employability. Consider the intercultural and language skills that you are learning by meeting and interacting with people from different backgrounds – read more about why employers value intercultural skills and think about how you can articulate these by talking about your experiences in other countries.

Researching careers and potential employers

Research employers requirements to increase your understanding of the job market

Thinking about your career options can help you focus on how to prepare for your next steps. If you’re not yet sure what you want to do after you graduate, you can start with some useful resources on the Prospects website. Try reading What can I do with my degree? Complete the career planner quiz and explore job profiles in various industries.

Keeping up to date with the latest news and developments in your chosen sector will give you more to talk about in applications and interviews and may help you discover more opportunities. Try reading books, articles, and news items. Follow companies on social media and join relevant LinkedIn groups to be part of the conversation.

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