Graduates: 10 Top Tips to Make The Most Out of The Summer Holidays


You will very soon be leaving the confines of uni for the mother of all holidays. 14 weeks… wow! Can you smell the whiff of freedom in the air?

I want to give you 10 top tips on what you can do over your summer, not just to make sure you get a break but to make it worthwhile for you, and to get those in charge off your back.


Top Tip #1: Get ready NOW!

I know you’re under the daily grind of revision and lectures but it is worth spending a few hours each week looking for some work experience to do over the summer.

You don’t need to necessarily get something for the whole period, but a few weeks would be excellent for your CV.

Don’t know what you want to do? Well that’s the beauty of work experience it really doesn’t matter!

Every single job that you do in your life will benefit from doing some work experience of any kind this summer. It will give you transferable skills, something to add to your CV and experiences to talk about in interviews.


Top Tip #2: Don’t panic!

Don’t panic if you haven’t got a job just yet, but it’s going to be important to make sure you’re dedicating some time each day to looking for a job.

  • Who do you know who could help you? A friend of the family? Your parents? Someone you met at a previous work experience? A lot of the job hunt isn’t what you know but WHO you know
  • Get your CV up to date – more on this later
  • Make sure you’re scanning the graduate job sites like Milkround, Target Jobs, All About Careers, Graduate Jobs, The Big Choice plus many more!
  • Speak to your careers department – they are a dedicated resource to helping you find work!


Top Tip #3: Think about the future

No one is expecting you to have all the answers, in fact far from it.

But your summer holiday is a good time to think about. What are your goals? What do you care about? What challenges you? What are you interested in? What are you passionate about?

Answering questions like this can help you form an idea about who you are as a person and how this could relate into a career that you will care about and therefore thrive in.

Here at Gateway, we can offer you the opportunity to go through this with a coach to understand more about yourself and where you could go in your life. Speak to me about a personal career review today.


Top Tip #4: Set up a business

 Do you have a business mind? Are you passionate about something and see a gap in the market that you could fill? Then use the summer to do some research, write a business plan and use your contacts to get it off the ground.

Not only will this help your CV, it will help build your business skills that you can talk about at an interview. You never know where creating a business will take you.

Maybe the seed of an idea you plant this summer will grow into a fully-fledged business later on!


Top Tip #5: Volunteer

Most work experience will pay you very little, if at all.

But volunteering is another way to get experience working in a business that will help you when it comes to finding a job.

It will give you more information about yourself, about how you work in a team, what your strengths are, what your passions are and whether the industry you’re volunteering in would be right for you full time.

Don’t be disheartened by the lack of cash, volunteering won’t be forever and it is essential if you want to get into the charity, not-for-profit sector or the arts.

Those fields are incredibly competitive, so if you’re lucky enough to get volunteer work with them, then take it with both hands.


Top Tip #6: Make a name for yourself

 Blogging is a great way to get your thoughts out there and your expertise.

It doesn’t matter if it’s fitness, beauty, marketing expertise, tips and hints on holiday destinations or how to write a business plan it’s going to matter to someone.

Blogging has taken off massively in the last few years and this, along with social media you can be recognised in a second. Did you know that Kendall Jenner gets something like $150,000 for a single product placement? If you have something to share, then get out there.

I would just highlight at this point to be very careful about what you are putting on your social media account if you are making a name for yourself and then sharing your success with a future employer.

Do you want them to see you half naked modelling a bikini? Do you want them to know all about your partying? I’m not saying that it’s a definite no… but it’s something to think about.


Top Tip #7: Pick up a hobby

 Hobbies are a good way to add interest to your CV when you are applying for work experience or an internship.

It shows the employer that you like to do something, anything really other than sitting inside watching TV or working.

Your hobby doesn’t have to be the coolest thing ever it’s more an opportunity to talk about something in your interview. Q: Tell me about a time you lead a team A: well when I play hockey or when I volunteer at my church, or when I sing in a choir… you get the picture.

As an aside – when you have a lot of work experience on your CV or actual jobs then the hobbies and interests don’t need to be on there at all.

What employers later on in your career will be more focused on is your actual job experience.


Top Tip #8: Go travelling

 When I say go travelling I don’t mean a trip to Magaluf with your friends getting drunk for a week.

I mean a few weeks travelling to Thailand, volunteering with a charity or travelling around Europe with a friend or two. This is a) a great opportunity to go and see the world b) to experience new cultures and meet new people c) it’s definitely something you can talk about at interviews.

Remember that employers want to hear about how an experience has helped to mould you into a suitable candidate for them – so you see why it would be good to talk about the Thailand, Europe or charity trip as opposed to the Magaluf trip!


Top Tip #9: Sort out your CV


The summer break is a great way to think back on all the things you did over the previous term and get it on paper.

Don’t forget to include the clubs you’re involved in, the groups and of course the work that you did that could help you bag your next job.

However, there is no point putting on your CV that you have covered XYZ in your module at uni and then when it comes to the interview and they ask you about it, you have no idea what you actually studied because it happened in the first week of uni when you were recovering from Freshers Week.

Make sure you can answer a question on everything on your CV, big or small.


Top Tip #10: Get some rest

Whether you’ve worked hard or not, it’s going to be important to think about your next year.

If you’ve worked hard, then you’ve definitely earned it, if you haven’t, then it’s important to take some time out, work out a plan to make the most of the year ahead so that when September rolls around you can start your year with a bang.


Over to You

For more information on writing your CV, planning for your future, understanding your strengths and applying for jobs, please speak to me today.

Jenni Hughes is a Career Coach & Job Search Specialist with Gateway. For more details on all the ways she can help you with your job search, your CV and plans for your future. Contact her by email –,uk or by phone 0845 459 0035.

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