How to make the most of your summer!

With exams over and essay deadlines in the past, I’m sure you are all entering holiday mode, with beach days, BBQ’s and festivals occupying your time. Along with a much needed rest, the summer is also a great opportunity to take up an internship or volunteer with a charity. Although it may not seem as tempting as lazing on a beach, developing your work experience greatly improves your job prospects. By completing an internship or voluntary work, it will enable you to test out different industries and consider the type of career you would like to pursue after graduation.

If you have an idea about the type of field you would like to work in (i.e. NGO’s, charities , journalism) research organisations both locally and nationally, use business social media sites such as LinkedIn to connect with companies and approach them to see if they are offering any summer internships.

Finding an internship may feel quite daunting, and you may be left wondering where to start. Some useful websites that advertise internships include:

http://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk/search?duration=1&show=jobs (internships offered in various sectors, including governmental and third sector)

http://www.w4mpjobs.org/ (an excellent site for vacancies and internship opportunities in Parliament, Policy / Research, Lobbying, PR and NGOs)

http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm (the official website for EU Commission internships)

http://www.goabroad.com/intern-abroad (links to internship and placement opportunities outside of the UK)

Be flexible about the type of work experience you will undertake. You may be determined to pursue a career working in Parliament, but consider undertaking work experience with a local political party. This will give you a great insight into working for an MP, and the nature of work involved. Try researching parties in your area and contacting them directly.

Volunteering is another great way to gain experience over the summer and it is always a valuable addition to a CV. If you would like to work in journalism or the media try contacting your local radio, news or TV station to see if they can offer you some voluntary work. Similarly, if you are interested in working for a charity you will most likely have to devote some of your time to volunteering with a particular organisation first. If you are staying in Kent this summer, visit http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/charities/south-east, an online directory which includes charitable organisations from all across the South East.

You can also use Kent Union’s Toolkit to find opportunities in Canterbury and Medway. If you have are considering or you have taken up voluntary work remember to log your hours using the Toolkit. By logging your hours you could receive a bronze, silver or gold Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering award! And don’t forget if you have secured some unpaid work experience in the UK, you could be entitled to up to £100 from the Careers and Employability Service to help with expenses with the BKEW: University of Kent Work Experience Bursary Scheme. For further information and eligibility visit www.kent.ac.uk/kew

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