When looking for your first your first job or internship employers will often look at your extracurricular activities. For example:
- If you have a role in a university society
- Have you done any part time work
- Have you shown drive to undertake schemes such as the Duke of Edinbrough scheme or volunteered abroad
However, often candidates have many of these things on their CV's and it is hard to differentiate between candidates who have done similar extracurricular activities.
How to stand out
Building a website has never been easier. There are courses on codecademy that teach you how to build a basic website for free, wordpress allows you to set up a simple website quickly, without having to write a line of code and there are plenty of website builders that offer all in one packages that produce great looking websites.
So, being able to build a website is one thing, we're not trying to get a job in web design. But, if you are able to use this to create something people are reading or using, it going to set you apart from other candidates.
Stand out doing what you love
You have to ask yourself; what do you enjoy doing? If you love food, consider setting up a specialist food blog where you share your favourite recipes from the week. If you love golf, consider setting up a website that has biographies of all the great golfers. If you run a small business, consider having on online presence where you can showcase your products. If you love fashion, well, read on...
How my friends blog helped get a highly competitive internship
I have a friend who attended a lot of events within the Bristol fashion scene. With help from her friend she was able to set up a basic website. After each event she would come back home and write a blog post about that event. She would then share her blogpost on her personal facebook and twitter profiles. As she was getting a few hundred visits from sharing her posts, companies that were hosting events began to come to her to ask her to write about their upcoming event.
Later that year she was able to get highly competitive summer internship at a large tech company. When I spoke to her about her interview she said that in every interview they would ask her about her blog. She had taken on a host of extracurricular activities at university but it was her blog that that was focused on.
A quick note on successful blogs
Here are some reasons people read blogs:
- Personal experience
- Thought Leadership
- Insight into another world/life
To create a successful blog, try and think which section you would fit into and keep your style consistent.
Leaving the university bubble - what employers are looking for
Setting up a blog or website shows many employable skills beyond the ones that you can develop within the constraints of university or organised schemes. If you are able to walk into an interview being able to: show you have the drive to take on responsibility, follow through with it and then maintain it. This is something that every employer will value within almost any role. So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!