I’ve mentioned this in a few posts recently but I’ve got a summer job whilst I’m on my break from Uni!
The is going to be my second summer of working during the Uni break and I thought I would write an advice post all about the whats and hows of summer jobs – how to get them, where to look, what to do etc.
Last summer, I worked a full-time 9-5 admin job which I really enjoyed. I have to admit, the fact that my Mum worked at the company was a big factor in helping me get the job but I still applied for lots of other opportunities and attended interviews. This summer, I applied to A LOT of different jobs, had a few interviews, some rejections and have finally secured a position as bar and waiting staff.
After this, I feel much more experienced in the summer-job search area and thought I would share my tips and what I’ve learnt in case it could help someone out!
Prepare a CV.
I absolutely hate this bit. I find it so hard to try to big myself up and make myself look good on paper. However, it’s so important to make sure you have a CV to send with your job applications that outlines your previous experience, skills and qualities. I’m sure most people have a CV but if you don’t, there’s so many good guides online that you can find – so many better ones than I could ever produce!
Decide what type of work you want to do.
For a summer job, any type of work is what I usually go for – I’ll apply for whatever is available! The decision I had to make this summer was whether I wanted to try to find something linked to what I wanted to do after Uni. I did have a look in this area but I decided that it wasn’t particularly feasible for my situation this time round. This meant I knew I was looking for part-time shift work and searched for bar/waiting, cleaning and kitchen service jobs. Really, you could do anything you wanted and apply for lots of different areas but it makes it easier, and less daunting, when starting to research jobs if you know a rough area you want to pursue. Also, I’ve found that because I’m a student, any jobs that were looking for full-time (the ones linked to my post-Uni plans) were more likely to reject me anyway as they knew I would be leaving at the end of the summer.
Apply to as many jobs as possible.
Previously, I had a habit of applying to a few jobs and then leaving it for a bit and waiting to hear back before applying to any others. This time, I just sent in an application to any I found all in one go. Assign an afternoon or evening to sit down at your computer and send your CV to all the jobs you deem suitable. It can be a long process – some places ask you to answer online questionnaires and fill in so many personal details – but it’s so satisfying to get them all done and sent off within one block of time. But make sure to keep track of everything you’ve applied for so you don’t get mixed up when you hear back from them!
Hopefully, after applying to these jobs, you’ll start receiving invites to interviews. So, here are my interview tips:
It doesn’t matter what type of job you’re applying for, you want to make a good impression at the interview. I usually go for a pencil skirt and tights with a shirt or blouse. If you’re in Uni, you might not have any interview clothes yet so I really recommend buying some. Even if you don’t use them in your quest for work in the summer break, you’ll most probably need them for when you finish Uni so they’re a good investment. Primark and Tesco do some fab, affordable and interview appropriate clothes.
Do your research before-hand.
Chances are, you’ll probably be asked what you know about the company or organisation you’re applying to work for. Before you have your interview, do a quick Google search of the company/organisation and find out a few things about it, maybe their ethics or values or the size of their organisation and the different services they provide.
Go through some practice questions.
I had an interview when I was 15 in which I was asked a really unexpected question. It completely threw me off and made me realise how unprepared I was for the interview. Luckily, it was one of my first and I just used it as a learning opportunity. Since then, I’ve always gone over the typical questions I think they might ask me. This gives you a bit of initial prep, as well as time to think of your answers. It’s so easy to Google typical interview questions to put yourself at ease.
Much easier said than done, I know. But recently, I’ve gotten quite good at staying calm before/during an interview. Make sure you’ve done all the relevant preparation and then just do your best. I know it’s cliche but that’s all you can do. I always keep in mind that if I don’t get the job or something goes wrong, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever see these people again so it’s not actually the biggest deal – that makes me feel a lot better. More likely than not, the interview will be great and even if you don’t get the job, it’s all good experience for next time.
Job interviews seem so daunting, and they can be, but the more you do, the more experience you gain to work towards getting used to them.
Finally, my most important bit of advice for anyone looking for a summer job is do not give up. On both occasions, I was job-searching for at least a month, if not more, before I found anything. I’d gone to interviews and been rejected, after meetings and even just from my application, but I just kept applying to new jobs when they came up and eventually, I found something. It can be disheartening, but keep going.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you were looking for some advice, I hope it helped! I’m by no means an expert but I’m just talking from my own experience. If I’d had some of this knowledge when I was 16 and going to my first interviews, or even only a year ago, I hope I would’ve felt much more prepared.
If you are job hunting, good luck!