Get ahead in the holidays: Extracurricular activities, networking and voluntary work
Whether you’re leaving school soon or coming up to the holidays, here’s how you can get a head start and give your career plans a boost in your time off.
Being away from school, without the daily routine of lessons and study, can leave you wondering what to do with yourself! So make your spare time work for you. Whether you get involved in community projects, do voluntary work or work experience, take a short course or attend a careers fair, you can use this time to improve yourself and your career prospects.
So, how will you get involved and get ahead in your spare time?
Get involved in extracurricular activities
This could be anything that you do outside of school or paid work, but if it’s something that helps you to become a well-rounded, responsible person it will look good on your CV too! It might be something like doing work experience, or helping out at a local club, activity or event.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities is a fantastic way to:
- gain new skills and develop the ones you already have get more insight into the sectors and industries that you are thinking of working in
- do work experience that you can add to your CV
- start building links with employers or industries – don’t underestimate the importance of networking and contacts for getting ahead in your chosen career
- build your confidence!
Do some voluntary work
If you’re interested in exploring job opportunities and getting experience, why not try looking for a voluntary placement? Put it on your CV and it’ll show that you can show up, do a job, and be part of a team. It’s not just about impressing admissions officers and employers either – you’ll get to try new things, feel useful and help others too.
You can register for volunteer placements at:
If you’re 16 to 17 in England or Wales, or 15 to 16 in Northern Ireland.
If you’re 18 to 25 and want to volunteer abroad.
Go to careers fairs
If you want to explore your options for after Year 11 or when you turn 18, and build more connections by networking at the same time, jobs and careers fairs are a great way to do it.
Careers fairs are events where you can meet and find out everything you want to know from employers, recruiters and educational organisations. They’re one of the best places for you to ask and answer questions about what you can do in your career, education and future. Be prepared to talk to lots of new people and you’ll find out about:
- job opportunities
- work experience
- careers advice
- training, development and education opportunities
- improving your CV.
There are loads of careers fairs throughout the year – ask in school about your local jobs fairs, events and projects. One of the biggest and best is Skills London – aimed at young people aged 15-24 – which has all sorts of fun activities to give you a taste of different jobs, as well as courses, apprenticeships and internships.