For many of us University is done for the summer, and now there’s a whole four months until it starts again. What have you got planned? Catching up with old friends, enjoying the weather (if possible), relaxing, going on holiday and probably getting nagged by your parents on a daily basis - but they’ve got a point you know...
If you’re not doing your bit around the house or not working they may start to get on your case about it. Surely after a few weeks you’ll get bored anyway, so why not, if you haven’t already, get looking for a part-time job to keep you busy over the summer and replenish your bank account after the bashing it no doubt took at Uni.
However, at this time of year and the current climate it can be particularly difficult for a student to find part-time work as so many students come flooding back to their home towns all looking for a few shifts here and there.
So try and get your foot in the door early, get a CV sorted and go on a hunt for a job.
What do I need to take with me?
Bring an up to date CV, cover letter and a big, friendly smile. I know from experience employers much prefer speaking to the candidate face to face and really get an idea of who they are rather than shoving a CV into their hand and scarpering out the door or simply posting it. In saying that, big chains such as Boots will just tell you to apply online if you ask in store, so it really does depend on the organisation or nature of the business, but I still think it’s worth popping your head in just in case. First impressions really count, so try and make an effort if you can!
No positions available? Leave your CV with them anyway (making sure you’ve got your up to date contact details on there) and ask them to give you a call if anything opens up.
Most employers will be bombarded with CV’s during summer, most of which will be students. So once you’ve introduced yourself and handed over your CV, what can you do to make you stand out from other potential candidates? Here are a few top tips on writing a great CV that will impress and hopefully get you that all important job!
- Have a clear yet interesting layout so search online for various templates - it will be a welcome change from the usual bullet pointed bog standard CV employers get handed.
- Identify three of your key strengths (e.g. customer skills, creativeness, willingness to learn) you believe will help you succeed in their working environment, and if you can provide some evidence for each. However, be careful to not waffle and try to keep it short, relevant and sweet.
- Make sure your spelling and grammar are on point – a few spelling mistakes may result in your CV being thrown in the bin!
- As for most jobs, working in a team is crucial, so if you think it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for (e.g. waitress, bar staff, kitchen porter) then state some reasons why you work well in a team (e.g. good listener, leadership skills and oral communication)
- List all previous employment or education in chronological order
- Try not to brag, but show off your achievements whether they are academic or recreational. Include anything that shows responsibility too – even being a prefect at school is worth a mention!
The waiting game
This can be the most frustrating stage of job hunting, as some will get back to you promptly with a yes or no whilst others will not bother to get in contact at all. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket and apply for lots rather than a few so that you improve your chances of success. If you’ve not heard from a certain company, that doesn’t entirely mean you haven’t got the job, so it may be a good idea to pop your head in a second time to see if the position has been filled or if they’ve had a chance to look at your CV yet. Doing this may show the employer you’re keen to work there, which will definitely put you in their good books.
If you are getting rejections left right and centre, don’t be disheartened! You’ll be going up against lots of other candidates, one of which may just have that extra bit of experience than you. In the meantime, why not try volunteering at your local charity shop, any upcoming local events or at a care home. It will do your CV wonders and shows employers you do have some experience in a working environment – plus it puts you in a good light as you’re giving up your time for nothing to help others.
All you can do is give yourself the best chance by writing up a great CV and introducing yourself with a smile and showing your enthusiasm. Keep scouting on job hunting websites (e.g. Gumtree), scanning the back pages of your local paper and keeping your eyes and ears peeled for any potential jobs going. In the meantime, try not to get under your parents feet and be as helpful as possible!