Grades are important but are not always the necessary evidence of the various skills that employers value and often seek. With an increasingly competitive job market, finding ways to stand out from the crowd appears a daunting prospect. There are, however, multiple ways in which you can bolster your CV which can even allow you to have fun and meet new people in the process.
University organisations: There are a plethora of opportunities to partake in societies but becoming part of committees or taking on leadership roles demonstrates initiative and leadership skills. You could apply to write for or edit student publications (like this one!), partake in a charitable society or even join a sports team. It may also be worth looking at similar opportunities outside of university if you wanted alternative options.
Volunteering: Whether helping out in your local area or even doing a placement abroad, volunteering can be both rewarding and useful for your CV. Your volunteering opportunity does not have to be related to your course; indeed this would prove to potential employers that you are willing and able to take on diverse challenges whilst helping others in the process. There are multiple opportunities advertised on the Edinburgh University Students’ Association website.
Learn a new skill: Demonstrating a wide range of interests and abilities is always a bonus. If there’s ever been a language you want to learn or if you wanted to learn Python coding, now is the time to do it. You could take a language elective or join an extra-curricular class! IT skills classes are particularly useful, especially if you can get a qualification at the end.
Work experience, internships, and careers fairs: Perhaps the most sought after and tactile ways to boost your CV are to get some form of work experience and internships which do not have to be directly related to your degree. Application processes can be competitive and long, however, it is worth it for the experience. Such opportunities vary in length and occur at different times of the year so it is worth researching your options.
Careers fairs are also great chances to meet employers, especially if you are unsure about what you want to do in the future.
Balancing studying with extra-curricular activities can be difficult but it is worth making time for, especially when the opportunities available are interesting and wide-ranging. For more information, the careers service website is a great place to look.
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