Landing a relevant summer job
Term three is maddeningly stressful, and by the time exams are over and you think you can finally relax, you suddenly have the dreaded thought: what the heck am I going to do this summer? Sure, you’ve planned a holiday, maybe you’re visiting your friends from uni (because 3 months really is too long to go without your best pals), but in between the sunbathing and the pub gardens most of us will be spending hours at the dreaded Summer Job.
We’ve all done it. Spent term time imagining that we’ll live-out our summers in a well-paid, highly relevant and enjoyable job that will make future employers impressed. Sadly, the truth is that unless you can bag a great internship, decent and relevant summer jobs are scarce, particularly in the arts. Even if you find the dream placement chances are it is volunteering, and then you’re forced to make the heart-wrenching decision about whether to go for your enjoyment or your wallet.
I’ve been there. Last summer I ended up working at Travelodge, and although my colleagues were lovely and I have come away with some great stories, it’s not exactly the kind of thing that people want to see on your CV in the heritage sector. For that reason, I took three weeks out to do an unpaid internship in Bath, which really has boosted my CV and helped me gain some brilliant experience. So, that’s one option: to do a generic summer job and get some relevant but unpaid experience on the side.
This year I’ve been frantically trying to find something paid and in the heritage sector, which is proving extremely difficult given that I live in a small town. What I’ve learned is to not be afraid to push the boat out. Just because a company isn’t advertising, it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything going. I sent several enquiries out to heritage offices, archaeology companies and planning firms, and although most of them gave a polite ‘no’, I was invited in to my local county council to spend half a day getting to grips with what their archaeology and planning office do. Although not a complete win for me, this really was a kind gesture that I wasn’t expecting from such busy people, so it’s always worth asking even if just to land a day getting some basic experience and advice.
Luckily, after several weeks of methodically scanning Indeed.com I managed to apply to a job at Sudeley Castle. Although it took three weeks for me to hear back, I got called in for an interview last week and they offered me the role on the spot. After so many unsuccessful emails and so much time spent scouring job websites, it came as a huge relief to me that all my efforts had been worth it to be able to find something relevant. I suppose what I’m trying to say is perseverance is key in finding a summer job that you can really get the most out of, as opposed to something that pays in money but not necessarily in experience.