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Three top tips for finding work during university

Published Thursday, 18 December, 2014 by Tiffany Rawling

At some point during university, you may find yourself needing to get a job. Sometimes your student loan just isn’t enough and it won’t cover everything for the year, finding a job while you are studying can be hard work though so here are some tips.

1. Up to date CV

The most important thing you need if you want to get a job is a current and up to date CV. It is likely everyone has one, even if it is just your first copy from school. It can easily be changed and updated. CV’s are the first things employers ask for and look at and if they aren’t interested in the first few lines, or it is poorly written, it will go straight in the bin. People are ruthless when it comes to finding the right employee and they won’t waste any time. The basic things you need on your CV are:

Qualifications - Don’t shy away from listing all of your grades, even if they weren’t your best, they are important so you have to be prepared to maybe start lower down the career ladder if you have fewer GCSEs or lower grades than somebody else. With a lot of jobs its more about how you sell yourself compared to the qualifications you have.

Employment history - Not everyone has this and that’s okay. You can’t put something down if you’ve never had a job before. If you have though it is important you include details of the job, the duration and reasons for leaving. There is a chance that the people you worked for will be a reference for you so you should include their details too. Having experience is something that employers want from you; they want to know that you can work well with others, how you handle yourself in different situations and how you can apply skills to future jobs. Experience is worth a lot. Like I said, not everyone has it, however you should include details of any voluntary work. That is something that people think highly of.

Personal statement - This is where the employer can find out about you. What you like, your interests, hobbies, achievements. This is the time to brag about things you’ve done that you are proud of or things that you think the employer would want to know about. Note some of your qualities too for example organised, punctual and hardworking.

2. Get talking

I think it is very true that with a lot of jobs it isn’t about what you know; it is about who you know. I’m not saying anybody could get a job if their family member worked in the place they are applying or a friend can just get you a job; you still need to have something about you but it will help. Now I don’t really know anyone who could help me out in that way, but so many friends of mine have got work because someone has set it up for them or bagged them an interview. It will really help to ask around and see if any friends or family know of any jobs going or can put in a good word for you. Also don’t be afraid to walk into shops or bars, wherever you might be looking and ask for the manager directly. This way you can personally pass on your CV and they get to see you face to face and it could really improve your chances.

3. Interview preparation

If you are lucky enough to get picked for an interview, you need to be prepared. It is important you have researched the place you are aiming to get work at. It is no good applying for a job and knowing nothing about the place. You get asked all sorts of questions in the interview so read up! Have a go at a practice interview, this can be a bit embarrassing but choose a friend or family member who can go over a few questions with you, listen to your answers and guide you.

Your personal presentation is very important. You can’t walk into an interview in jeans and a t-shirt and expect to get the job, no matter how experienced you are or what qualifications you have. You should wear smart clothing, a woman could go for smart trousers and a blouse or a dress, a man could go for a suit or smart trousers, shirt and tie.

One thing interviewers want from you is a question. They always ask at the end if you have anything you want to ask and you should always be prepared for this. It can be anything within reason - what is a typical working day like? Do the shifts vary? How many members of staff would I be working with? Those are just a few ideas but there are so many and if you have a quick look online, you’ll find a few to take into the interview with you.

Most importantly, stay calm and relax. If it doesn’t go to plan, it isn’t the end of the world. People are always employing students and if you keep trying you are sure to find something!

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