Finding work experience or a graduate job after university has always been a challenge, but it’s even harder in the middle of a pandemic. Unfortunately, many employers are having to cancel work experience opportunities and are assessing their graduate recruitment strategy as a result of Covid-19.
While there are fewer opportunities for new graduates at the moment, missing out on work experience isn’t the end of the world. The key is being able to show employers that you were proactive and supported yourself through this challenging time.
Here’s how you can give your CV a boost and impress employers with your resilience.
Do you know what skills employers are looking for? Do these match up with what you can offer? Before diving into any online training available you should figure out what skills you need to prioritise developing. A good way to do this is by looking at online job adverts for the types of role you are interested in. See which boxes you tick and make a plan for improving those that need more work.
While traditional work experience in an office may not be possible at the moment, there are online opportunities. Virtual internships and remote work experience are a good option at the moment and it’s worth liaising with your university careers department to see what’s available. These roles will be very competitive, but they are worth a shot.
Online career networks have been thriving during lockdown. Chat forums and LinkedIn groups are great places to build your industry knowledge and keep up with trends. You should also ensure you are following key companies in your industry on social media.
Keeping in touch with your peers could lead to work experience, training, or job opportunities. It’s much easier to get your foot in the door of a company if a member of their staff recommends you.
If you can’t get traditional work experience with a company, think outside the box. If you’re interested in marketing, could you offer to help local businesses with their promotions?
Jobs and work experience aren’t always advertised, so don’t be afraid to knock on a few doors and tell employers what you can offer. Anything you learn about your industry and market now is something you can use to impress employers at interviews later.
If it feels impossible to get work experience in the industry you want to work in at the moment, focus on where you could build relevant skills instead. Volunteering is a great way to do this as it could help with your communication, organisation, IT skills and more. It’s also a good addition to your CV.
Don’t forget that your hobbies and interests are also valuable experiences. They can give you plenty of examples of soft skills that employers value, such as communication, creativity and teamwork. Ensure these feature in your CV too.
Experience comes in lots of different forms. As long as you are making a conscious effort to develop the skills you need, you’ll benefit later. Now more than ever it’s important for graduates to be resilient, creative and proactive. It’s not easy, but employers like candidates who can tackle and overcome challenges.