Close up of a swimming pool with a yellow poolside

Unlike previous years, this summer’s graduates, university students, and college students will not have the chance to celebrate in the same way, and won’t have the same job opportunities as previous cohorts. 

However, you’ll still have the same hopes and dreams for your summer, whether it’s getting a first step on the career ladder, gaining some memorable experiences, or making some money to get you through your next academic year. 

The situation is dire. The Institute of Student Employers has found that 23% of entry level jobs have been cut and the number of internships and placements available have fallen by 40%.

Equally, popular summer jobs for students such as bar and restaurant work, and events and festivals are not on the table, as is travelling, and perhaps volunteering, around the world as the furthest we’ll be able to travel is France, which is not the most budget friendly for students. 

Here are our picks of how you can make your summer work for you regardless.

In Absence of Summer Work

Without the common summer work available, we suggest that freelancing will be the best option available. You can freelance in a number of sectors, including translating, blog writing, programming, web design and development, graphic design and admin support. 

You need to have a portfolio of work to begin with, which may mean that you have to create this from the outset. A portfolio is a small body of work which demonstrates what you can do so that people will have the confidence to hire you. For example, it may be example blog posts, websites or translations. 

You’ll then need to sign up to freelance websites, such as Upwork, Freelancer, Peopleperhour, Fiverr and bid for the work available. 

Freelancing is great as it means that you can develop your skills in the industry you are looking to work in in the long run, and you might gain some contacts as well as develop your portfolio. However you might find that you spend more time looking for work than being paid to do the work, especially in the current job climate. 

You could also try temping with an agency such as Tate, Office Angels, Reed, Hays, or Studentgems. Temping is where you go into an office (or do it from your home) and do some of the admin work they have piling up. This could range from entering data into spreadsheets to putting together Powerpoint presentations. Temping is a great way to gain office experience, as well as some of the skills you don’t get through your course, such as working with people of a different generation, or to someone else’s deadline. It’s likely that you’ll get a certain amount of work, e.g. a week, after which you’ll have to find new opportunities. 

Also, if we are out of social distancing, you could also look at jobs such as childminding or tutoring to gain some extra income, or places like call centres which often have a high turnover of staff and are constantly looking for new people. 

In Absence of Entry Level Jobs

As a graduate or college leaver, if you are having little luck gaining full-time employment, you could also go down the temping or freelancing route. These will open doors for you, help you build up your work experience and give you some money along the way.

To gain full-time employment, now is the time to look for alternatives - alternative sectors, alternative careers and alternative employment contracts.

If you are interested in going into a sector that you know have tightened their belt this year, think about what other industries and careers you could go into. These might be alternatives that are your second choice, that you thought about pursuing but that thought was finally trumped, for example you liked the idea of both management consultancy and becoming a nutritionist. Or you may look at applying for an entry-level account manager role, where you’ll gain lots of experience, which you can then take to a graduate scheme if you apply the following year. You could also look at short-term employment contracts which give you the job for three or six months, after which you have to find a new one.

However, all these experiences are a foot in the door and the first step on the career ladder. It’s important to know that it won’t matter what your first couple of years out of university was like, as long as you kept trying and made the most of the opportunities that were given to you. You never know what path these alternatives might lead you down.{eluceoshare}

In Absence of Travel

There’s always another time to go travelling, so don’t worry if you think you’ve missed the boat - there will be another opportunity. If you don’t want to spend your summer working, or you want to gain more than just the money, volunteering closer to home is a great alternative. Websites such as Do-it offer plenty of opportunities for volunteering, where you can use your current skills or gain new ones, along with experiences and friends. 

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