Last summer I worked at a camp in Pennsylvania and it was definitely the best experience of my life! I worked as a photographer and office assistant for 9 weeks, and although it doesn’t sound like the most exciting of jobs when you compare it to being a counsellor with the kids, it was perfect for me and I believe that it has helped me significantly in gaining employment.
The best thing about working at a camp is that it provides such a varied experience and gives you such a wide range of skills, from on the job training; I learnt how to be an admin assistant such as using a phone switchboard and collating information, but you also gain life experience; I learnt how to live in close proximity to people for a long period of time and learnt to cope and cooperate with people that I would not necessarily associate myself with normally. It is this mix of skills that camp work gives you which makes you invaluable to an employer and helps you in the working world. It shows the employer that you are independent and self reliant because you have gone out to work in a different country on your own, away from everything that you know at home. It also shows a willingness to learn and acquire new skills as you are in a situation that you will have not been in before, you have to learn in order to adapt to your environment and get the full experience.
It gives uniqueness to your CV and makes you stand out from the crowd because it is not something that everyone has done. When in an interview, it is great to talk about your experiences because if you loved it as much as I did, it is something you are enthusiastic about and shows great passion. It also gives you great anecdotes which lighten the mood of an interview!
I believe that going to camp this summer has helped me get my current job which is working for the Careers and Employability Centre on campus, and although this is only a part time job, I believe that this job will lead me onto bigger and better things, all stemming from my time at camp. I think for almost every single covering letter that I wrote when applying for jobs this semester, I wrote about camp and what I learnt from it.
Not only is it an amazing summer where you can try things that you have never done before (I went skydiving and white water rafting!), but it will stay with you for the rest of your life and enhance your employability not only now, but also down the line in the future.
I would recommend working on a camp to anyone; however if working on a camp is not for you, then why not look for a summer internship in something that you are really interested in, whether it be in the UK or abroad. All employers are looking for that something extra and work experience this summer could provide just that.
Drop into the Careers and Employability Centre to book an appointment to see your college specific internship officer or check out what is available online at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/internships and you could even be entitled to a bursary.
This is a decision you won’t regret!