As the coronavirus continues to write off spring plans and we face the prospect of several months indoors, one silver lining of self-isolation is that it provides an opportunity to focus on professional development. Whether you’re in your first year at Bath or looking forward to an imminent graduation, here are a few ways to potentially improve your employability while stuck indoors…
- Get acquainted with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a must-have at university, whether you’re looking for a summer internship, a placement year, or a graduate job. Here are three tips for making the most out of the website:
- Set up alerts for specific job titles or keywords in your favourite towns, and you’ll be notified of new vacancies on a daily or weekly basis.
- Find your dream graduate job and look at the ‘skills’ it requires. Add those which you feel you possess to your profile. This will make it easier for recruiters to find you, and will also mean that LinkedIn’s algorithms suggest more relevant job opportunities for you.
- Take this opportunity to reconnect with old friends and coursemates – this will show the world you’re a strong networker and will liven up your newsfeed – but avoid sending requests to strangers without an explanation!
2. Take a MOOC or request to enrol in an unmarked unit
If you’re looking to quench a thirst for knowledge, many universities including Bath run massive open online courses (MOOCs). FutureLearn hosts free courses, year-round, across a diverse range of subjects. Participating universities include Leeds, Southampton and UCL, and after completing a course you have the option to purchase a certificate.
Alternatively, if you feel you’ve missed out on a unit at Bath which your friends have been raving about all semester, email the unit convenor and ask if they’d consider giving you access to the Moodle page as an unmarked, extracurricular activity. You can always download the PowerPoint slides now and read them at a later date. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
3. Create your own website
Do you run your own business as a side hustle? Are you looking to improve your public profile? Even if you’re not particularly computer-savvy, it’s possible to set up your own website in a day. You can get a free domain using a blogger site like WordPress, or sites like Namecheap, 123 Reg and GoDaddy offer dirt-cheap deals on .com and .co.uk domains, as well as more obscure extensions like .club and .me. Once you’ve got your own web domain, you’ll have to set up your website (WordPress is easy to use and free), configure some settings (probably with the help of Google), and design your website (if you use WordPress hosting, you can use a free template as a basis for your site). You can even set up your own custom email addresses!
4. Learn a programming language
Coding skills are highly sought-after these days, not only in software engineering and artificial intelligence, but also for less discernibly techy jobs like Civil Service social research roles (as I learnt on my placement!). Fortunately, sites like DataCamp exist, which offer free crash courses into popular languages including Python, R and SQL – complete with certificates.
5. Learn (or relearn) a foreign language
Keen to learn a new language? Worried your secondary-school French is slipping away? Pas de problème – Duolingo is totally free and currently offers interactive courses in 36 languages, which you can chip away at in bite-sized lessons until you’re fluent enough to add it to your CV.
Next time you’re about to scroll through Instagram, or to rewatch your favourite TV series for the fifth time, maybe give one of these things a try instead. It might be out of your comfort zone, but it could be the clincher that makes you stand out from someone else with the same degree at an assessment centre – so what are you waiting for?