Universities are closed. Lectures, assessment and exams are all online. This is a very strange time to be a student. There are lots of hours to fill during quarantine. You could get into knitting or organise a virtual pub quiz. Andrew Fennell from StandOut CV shows how you could also use this time to make sure your CV is ready to go when lockdown lifts!
Like everything else, the graduate job market is very much on hold. While we wait for it to recover, now is the time to make sure you’re an attractive hiring prospect on paper. Whether your final year has come to an abrupt end or you’re unsure what to do with the longest summer holiday ever, this is how to boost your CV while you’re stuck at home.
1. Plan your perfect graduate CV
Before you can improve your CV you need to know what it should say. Write down a big list of all your current experience, including part-time jobs, volunteering, work experience placements, interests, and extra qualifications.
Find out what potential future employers in your field are looking for by searching for current job descriptions in your field, reading careers blogs and looking at tried-and-tested example CV’s. When you know what your CV should look like, you can identify gaps in your experience and opportunities to develop your skills.
2. Take an online course
This is the time to learn something brand new or develop what you already know. Search sites like Udemy, FutureLearn, Coursera and Class Central for online courses and certifications you can complete from home. Many are now free or heavily discounted and provided by reputable universities and organisations.
You’ll find lots of online courses that cover topics related to your planned future career, as well as courses on personal development and soft skills like positive psychology, networking and entrepreneurship.
3. Volunteer to help the most vulnerable
You can do your bit to help people most affected by COVID-19, whether you can leave your house or not. The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme received an incredible 750,000 applications and is now closed while they’re processed. There are still many other local initiatives that need help, including food banks, baby supply banks and charities. Supplies need to be delivered and vulnerable people need support.
Some volunteering opportunities can be done entirely over the phone or through the post, so you can keep social distancing, such as taking calls for charities and making essential supplies. It all makes a difference and gives you something to add to your CV while work experience opportunities have dried up.
4. Stream your skills online
People want distraction and diversion — and you could provide it! Use video call software or live streaming to teach whatever you’re good at and interested in, whether it’s playing an instrument, drawing, painting, yoga or some kind of craft. Stream at regular times and keep your audience engaged. The more visual, the better!
5. Virtual networking
Many professional organisations are coming up with creative networking solutions while people can’t meet up in person. Skills sharing, webinars, mentoring, and conferences are all still happening online through live streams and social media. Use Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to find opportunities to ‘meet’ people in your field.
6. Create something you think is missing
Coronavirus has highlighted how creative and resourceful we all are. While everything is strange, scary, and uncertain, people with all kinds of skills have found ways to make life a bit brighter. Look around and identify what’s missing. What do you want to see? What would help you? Create it yourself. You’ve got the time!
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV . He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.