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Making use of the summer break if you have not managed to get work experience

8 June 2023
Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash
Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

As students, we are fortunate to have a sprawling summer break to enjoy which can come with a level of stress for those wanting to make the most of their time. The first idea might be to try to get some sort of work experience, at least for me this was a priority, but around not being in a consistent location and a limited about of opportunities, this may not always work out. Consequentially, this blog aims to guide you through how to make great use of the summer break without getting the ‘ideal’ work experience or internship opportunity. You can still use the summer rot have a great time and gain skills and experience to include on your CV.

Don’t blame yourself 

Firstly, approach the situation with kindness. All is not lost because you didn’t find or get an opportunity that’s right for you. In fact, you now have more time to invest somewhere else. It can be easy to feel down but understand that roles are competitive and, if you didn’t get one, then it may have not been right for you anyway. Use the rejection as an opportunity to redirect and try something new.


To use your time for a positive impact, why not try volunteering with a local charity? By looking in the right place, you can find many volunteering opportunities which may facilitate what you learn in your course. This is also a great opportunity to build practical skills and make some great new friends with similar interests to you. Volunteering can open your mind and expose you to roles and careers that you might not otherwise encounter in an academic setting.

Online courses

Undertaking an online course shows commitment. By investing your time to learn something new (or develop your knowledge) in professional skills, you are showing commitment and interest beyond your university degree. This can be attractive to employers as well as giving you more to discuss in cover letters and interviews when you graduate. You may even discover a new interest or skill.

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Earn Money 

Earning money and having a part-time job is one of the most effective ways to gain life experience, have something to include on a CV, make friends and be independent. Using the summer to build on your savings can never go wrong. This is also great if you want to travel for part of the summer. For instance, in the summer between my first and second years at university, I spent a month backpacking around Europe until returning to Cardiff and spending 1.5 months working until my second year began. This was perfect for having the time to go on adventures, then coming back to Cardiff and replenishing what I had spent.


There are so many realistic ways to travel over the summer break. You can have the independence of backpacking, like I mentioned above, or you can try volunteering in exchange for accommodation with websites such as Worldpackers or Workaway. This is great to demonstrate your more adaptable, organised and hard-working side on a CV. Another great opportunity is the university summer travel opportunities which you can find more information on through the Spend Time Abroad on the intranet.