It's becoming old news now that the economic climate is rough, the job market is crowded and you can expect to apply for at least five thousand positions until you get hired. We don't need to hear it any more, we know it's bleak, let's move on.
As you approach graduation and start applying for jobs, making your CV stand out from this ever expanding crowd can be really hard. There have been plenty of tales of creative types who have turned their CV into a mini work of art, with interactive elements, multimedia, or even a good old fashioned set of felt tip pens. Not to mention the recent story of Adam Pacitti's quest to find a job by purchasing space on a billboard. All great ideas but if you're not going for a role where your future company is crying out for quirky characters who know what to do with Photoshop then you might still be a bit stuck.
One thing seems to be the same across the board with employers though - they're after candidates with a little something extra to offer. They're recruiting because they need someone new, fresh and with plenty of good ideas. Plus, they want someone interesting to work with - they have to see and speak to you almost every day, so you can't blame them.
A good way to add an edge to your CV and potentially make the difference between Friday night drinks being on the theme of celebration as opposed to commiseration is to take a short or part time course. Signing up for an evening class or a weekend workshop instantly shows you're actively using your spare time to better yourself and that you have interests outside the area you hope to work in. Straight away these are great qualities to attract a future employer.
You could pick a course that will lead to an additional qualification for your CV. This is obvious, but if you've just finished a degree in the area you want to work in, is it really necessary? Actually, the more fun courses have just as much merit to employers as they show you're confident, enthusiastic, and sociable.
Maybe you've got a massive sweet tooth and want to learn how to decorate cupcakes? Or perhaps you fancy yourself a part time thespian and want to take up acting classes? Whatever you're into, doing something you actually feel passionate about works on two levels - you're more likely to do well in it (who doesn't want the certificate at the end?) and if you're quizzed on the subject as part of your interview, you'll come across as a bit of an expert. This tells the interviewer that when you put your mind to something you throw yourself into it and get things done.
Another idea could be to go for a subject that's going to stick in their memory and make them want to meet you just to find out more. Your imagination is the limit here; think flying lessons, latte art or even pole dancing if you're feeling brave. You'll definitely get remembered and you'll also have a good talking point to show your potential boss that you're willing to try new things.
Most people don't spend their weekends doing the same thing they do from nine until five every day of the week and so the more interests you can show an employer the more human you'll come across. Plus, with all this new knowledge, you'll be first picked for any pub quiz teams and that's never a bad thing.