1. Adapt your CV
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget when applying for multiple jobs at once. It’s very tempting to create one CV and send this to all prospective employers. However, it can help to adapt your CV to display experiences which match the skills needed for that particular position. For example, when applying for a job as a tutor, it is important to highlight academic experiences, whereas for a job at McDonald’s, experience with customers will be regarded as more important.
Another common misconception is that, because students have spent a year in academia, they have nothing new to add to their CV, and so they send it off without updating it. But some University experiences can be applied to the world of work, and many employers look for skills such as time management, leadership and team work, all of which are often important parts of studying. So, remember to work on your CV before applying for each different role.
2. Use specialist job-searching sites
When searching for jobs, it’s easy to just look on the websites of well-known companies or rely on signs in windows advertising for staff. There are so many sites out there aimed at finding jobs for people with a multitude of experience, and they collate all the data in one place, making the search for a job that little bit easier. These job-search sites allow the employee to search for specific roles, allowing for students to search not just for opportunities in their area, but they can also filter for those that are temporary, for example. With students often encountering disappointment due to employers not wanting temporary staff, searching directly for temporary positions can avoid such disappointment.
Job sites also offer positions that you might not have thought of, and so they are well worth a browse when applying for a job this summer.
3. Be confident
This is a big one. Confidence is the key to getting any job, and it’s something that makes you stand out from other students. Confidence is usually linked to the interview process, but it is an important attribute to express right from the start of the application. Sometimes just simply walking into a café, shop or restaurant is enough to show an employer that you have the guts and confidence to work with customers, and to succeed in a client-based enterprise.
While at University, it can be difficult to apply for a job in person. However, getting someone else to give in your application gives the wrong impression from the outset. It can be incredibly daunting, but take the CV in yourself and show how much you want the job. Asking to give it to the manager can also ensure that your application makes it to the appropriate person and isn’t just left on the side and forgotten.
4. Apply to companies, even if they haven’t advertised
I think this one only applies to certain companies, particularly small businesses, which can be perfect for students as they are often nearby. Plus, small businesses are often more likely to take people on, as they don’t have to wait until jobs become available before hiring more help, unlike chain businesses.
By applying to places which aren’t currently advertising for employees, it also gives the employers a chance to keep a copy of your CV should any opportunities come up in the future, and so even if they don’t have any available positions, you will be the first they go to should anything come up. This can also come across as incredibly confident to prospective employers, and shows you clearly have a genuine interest in their company.
5. Write a good cover letter
This is similar to number 1 in its simplicity, but again this is something many students forget to do. A cover letter doesn’t have to be something detailed or long-winded, but it’s important that there is at least something included with your CV telling employers what kind of work you are looking for, and for how long. If an employer has to ask the questions for themselves, it wastes their time, and yours, and often employers just won’t bother.
A cover letter should state what kind of work you are looking for, how many hours you want and could even reiterate your key skills so the employer has some key information before even looking at your professional experience. It should also make clear the best way to contact you. Keep it short and sweet, but never leave the employer in any doubt as to your aims, otherwise they might not chase you up and you could be left disappointed.
Want more information on searching for jobs this summer? Check out the GRB page dedicated to giving students advice on job hunting, including articles on questions you might be asked in an interview- and the ones you should be asking.