June 2, 2020 | Cara Fung
Just because your internship has been cancelled or deferred, or you cannot attend Open Days this summer due to lockdown restrictions does not mean you cannot stay on track with the job application process!
- Research your Field of Interest
With university work and extra-curricular activities, it is often difficult to find time to do job-related research. You can use your time to develop a habit of reading the news, becoming more commercially aware if you are interested in jobs in the legal or finance sectors, and researching companies or organisations you are interested in applying to. Recruitment teams can tell whether you have researched their company well and tailored your application accordingly, or if you just copy-and-pasted answers from another application.
- Reach Out to Contacts in the Industry
It may feel daunting to apply for jobs without much experience of what day-to-day life is like on the job. Make use of your contacts through school and university alumni networks, your professors, and older students. You may even want to reach out to contacts on LinkedIn or create a profile if you do not already have one. Recent graduates are often more than willing to share application tips and tell you about their experiences.
- Complete Internship and Job Applications
Even if the application cycle is far from ending, you should make use of your time to prepare answers to application forms and draft cover letters. If your application cycle has not started yet, do not fret! There are some generic application questions you can start brainstorming answers for, such as ‘why do you want to work at X company?’ and ‘tell me about an instance where you demonstrated leadership ability’. Practice writing out answers to questions like this can help improve your application-writing skills, which are often very different to skills for academic writing.
- Brush Up on Interview Skills
You can brainstorm some questions that are likely to come up at job interviews or find them online and ask a family member to do a mock interview with you. If you live by yourself, you can record your answers on your phone or computer, listen to the recording, and see how you can improve. You can also practice video-interview skills by filming yourself answering questions under time pressure.
- Learn a New Language
You can use this time to re-learn that language you dropped after GCSEs or pick up a language you have always found fascinating! There are plenty of free online resources you can use to kickstart your learning such as Duolingo, and some online platforms to practice speaking languages with fluent speakers. Having language skills can be a very useful and unique asset to have on your CV.
- Pick Up a New Skill
Is there a skill you have always wanted to learn but never had the time for? This is your perfect chance to upskill. It is very possible that job interviewers will ask how you spent your time during the Covid-19 crisis. Whether it is coding, a new instrument, or knitting, learning a new skill will show you have used your free time productively. This new skill may even end up being a talking point with a job interviewer because it is a hobby of theirs too! In my personal experience, showing genuine interest in a hobby can often make you more memorable to an interviewer.
Be productive with your newfound free time, but also remember to have some downtime too! Best of luck!
Educated at the Chinese International School, Cara obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Cambridge and is currently studying for a Masters in Law. While at Cambridge, she was the Treasurer of the Cambridge University Law Society and was heavily involved in performing theatre. Cara has worked at the Cambridge University Law Faculty Open Day and as a Peterhouse Student Ambassador as she enjoys advising and helping prospective university applicants with the application process.
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