Are you a first year with an empty CV?

Does your CV look a little blank? You’re doing a course but nothing else? Sound familiar?

Employers want to know what skills you’ve developed from outside of your course so building up your CV with work and other experiences will help you to answer those tricky questions on application forms and give you something to talk about at interview.

Regardless of the course you are doing and what your future career plans are, work experience will always look good on your CV. Don’t avoid applying for anything because you are not yet sure about what you want to.

The Careers Service advertises lots of vacancies year round so make sure to have a look at our website.  If you’re looking for something career related, you may want to be creative in your search and make some speculative applications to organisations as there aren’t many schemes that are specifically targeted at first year students. That’s because organisations often use work experience schemes as a way of recruiting into graduate roles that they have – so they may prefer people to be pre-final years so they are that bit nearer graduation.

Having said that, there are some organisations who offer opportunities aimed specifically at first year students, so do make sure to keep checking on the Careers Service website. A colleague told me that Barclays are taking applications for their short ‘Spring Internship Programme’ which is for first years (or second years of a four-year degree). It’s in April and applications close on March 11 2011 so visit the Barclays website to find out more and apply.

Even if a formal placement doesn’t appeal, there are lots of other things you could do:

  • If you’re part of a society or club, think about getting more involved by being on a committee or helping organise things.
  • If you live in halls ask if you can help the resident’s association/junior common room.
  • Many professional bodies offer student membership where you can do things such as write for their website. Look into joining a professional body that is related to your course or if you do know what you want to do, your future career (depending on your degree membership may even be free).
  • Businesses also offer opportunities to take part in competitions or business games which we advertise online.
  • You could also volunteer your time to get involved with charities in the local area.

Have a look at the ‘Make yourself Employable’ section of our site to get more ideas and use the site to search for opportunities.  Whatever you choose to do, first year’s a great time to start adding to your CV and developing more skills which future employers will be looking for.

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