Workin’ 9 to 5 (What a way to make a livin’)
During the summer holidays, I imagine that the majority of us students will be looking for part-time jobs to earn a bit of extra cash (unless you’re lucky enough to be a young millionaire who got rich by purchasing bitcoins). However, breaking into the job market can be hard, especially if you’ve had no previous experience. Here, I am going to share some tips to help you search for jobs, ace interviews and hopefully get hired!
The first step is to search for jobs to apply for. The easiest place to start would be to ask family members or friends if they can get you a job at their place of work for the summer. If not, another good alternative is to look online on websites such as Indeed, Reed or Monster and use what is known as the “scattergun approach”- this basically means apply for as many different jobs as possible in the hopes that at least one company will eventually offer you an interview. These websites are a good option as they allow you to see a wide range of jobs available in your area from the comfort of your own home and they also allow you to filter your job search by things such as distance from your location, job sector, permanent or temporary positions or salary. A downside to this approach is that, if you don’t get the job, companies often won’t contact you informing you that you’ve not got the position and instead you will just never hear back from them. Another option is to register with an agency who will find positions that are suitable for you. This option is a good choice if you’re after casual or temporary work since there are agencies that specialise in temporary and casual work. Furthermore, they do all the job hunting for you which means less work is needed on your end. A further option is to print out copies of your CV and walk around your local town to see if anyone is hiring. This method is good as it allows you to find work in a location you’re familiar with, however, there is also a smaller chance you will be hired this way as regular staff in places like shops and cafes don’t have the authority to hire you on the spot.
Once you’ve applied for jobs, you should hopefully be asked to come in for an interview (hooray!) Interviews may seem scary at first, but the best way to impress future employers is to be prepared and confident. Before the interview, do some research into the company to find out things like who they are, what they do and who their customers are. This will show the employer that you are actually interested in the job you’ve applied for. With larger companies, you are also sometimes able to find online the type of questions they ask during their interviews which will help you prepare better. Practice what you want to say and also prepare answers for standard interview questions such as “Why do you want to work for us?”, “Give us an example of how you’ve worked well in a team” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” It is also good to prepare some questions to ask the interviewer as most people give you the opportunity to ask questions at the interview. Before you go to the interview, it is always good to make sure you know exactly where you’re going and how to get there. Furthermore, you should also ensure you have any documents ready that you may have been asked to provide such as proof of ID, a passport or birth certificate, proof of address and national insurance number.
On the day of the interview, you should dress smartly since first impressions matter! The job you are applying for will depend on exactly how smartly you will have to dress, however, it’s always better to be over rather than under dresses. During the interview, make good eye contact with the interviewer to show that you are listening to what they are saying and are engaging with them. It also helps to smile and have a good handshake as this makes you appear friendly and confident. Try not to rush your answers and it is perfectly fine to ask for a moment to think after being asked a question.
Finally, expect the unexpected. You can prepare as much as possible, however, some interviews will still catch you out as they may include unexpected things such as group exercises, unusual questions or multiple interviewers rather than just one person. Group interviews can seem intimidating, however, just remember to be confident and to speak up whenever you have any ideas or questions in order to be noticed. You might not get a job straight away (this is very common as most people don’t get the very first job they are interviewed for) but don’t be discouraged! Sometimes, interviewers will give you feedback to let you know why they didn’t hire you. Take this feedback and use it to improve and hopefully, you’ll have a job in no time!