Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top 5 Tips for Occupying your Spare Time over Christmas

With Christmas approaching, and the holidays for students inevitable, it’s a great time to start thinking about, and applying for work placements next year. Now is a good chance to set aside a few days over your holiday to update your CV, and write your cover letters for your applications.

To make good use of your time over Christmas you could:

1)Research Placements

Some of you may not have done any research for placements in quite a while. It’s good to regularly check out what companies are offering, in terms of internships next year and graduate schemes, as you may want to apply for those. If like me, you’ll be graduating next year, then you may want to research the general job market too. Keep yourself in the loop and up to date with what’s going on in the specific publishing industry you’re hoping to get into.

Also, look out for my next Guardian Careers article, which will detail how to research for placements effectively. I’m hoping that this will be published in the next week or two.

2) Update your CV

During Semester, it can be really difficult to find time to update your CV. Therefore, holidays are the best time to do this. It shouldn’t take too long to do, so perfect if you have an hour or two free time.

3) Prepare Cover Letters

After researching placements, you may have found a few that you would like to apply for. These placements will probably be sometime after February 2012. If they’re close to this date then make sure you send your application as soon as possible (unless stated otherwise). However, if you’re not looking for a placement until summer 2012 then hold off till January/February time to apply. Even if this is the case, you can still write your cover letters in advance.

For more advice regarding cover letters see http://diaryofapublishingintern.blogspot.com/2011/11/top-5-tips-for-creating-impressive.html. Don’t forget to do your own research too.

4) Work on application extras

Christmas will be the best time to get prepared, if like me, you know that you will need to submit a portfolio along with your CV and cover letter. You may also see where there are gaps in your portfolio, for example you may not have enough variation in cuttings etc. You can work on this and do things such as, working on the University newspaper as a Writer or Editor. For those that are in your final year, this may be your last chance to get involved, and it will definitely look good on your CV.

If you’re not going to be submitting a portfolio, then it’s a good idea to get to know the companies that you’re most interested in gaining a work placement with, or even a full time job with later on. This will be especially useful when you’re composing your cover letters, and even at a later point in time, when you will be going for interviews. The more preparation you do, the easier it will be to achieve all of this and be successful at it.

5) Social Networking

Make sure you try and get yourself out there (and stay out there) - in whatever way are possible. For example, if you’re writing a blog, keep advertising and use social media to get more people aware of it – even employers.

If you’re not writing a blog, then get a LinkedIn account and a Twitter account to boost your online presence. Follow around careers and recruitment profiles, as they’ll post up vacancies etc. For instance, some of these profiles that I follow have followed me back, and retweeted my blog advertising tweets. This is how my blog made it into Gradvine Daily. However, even if you don't have a blog, any kind of recognition that you could get is going to work in your favour.

Some of this blog post has been slightly more geared towards writers/bloggers, but I think you could all gain something out of this. Next Tuesday I’ll be expanding my social networking tip as it is very significant. I’ll especially try to aim this at the non writers. Don’t forget to get in contact and tweet me if you have any questions. Also, get in touch if you’d just like to make blog post suggestions.

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