Josef Said, Operations Director at KONNEKT shares his views on how students should secure a summer job to ensure their careers kick start on the right track once they complete their studies.
If you are student, you are probably totally immersed in your studies especially during this time of the year, with little or no time to dedicate to think on how to make meaningful use of your summer holidays. When exams are over it could be too late. Maybe you should plan to do it differently this year! It will not distract you from your studies, you just need to make better use of your time.
Whether you are a first or a final year student, finding a job that is in line with your studies is not an easy feat. If you have had a hand at it, you have certainly been told that you “lack experience”. This should give you a clear indication that completing your studies and attaining decent grades is only part of the story.
With the number of graduates increasing, employers are almost sure to have their mailboxes flooded with CVs for any vacancy they advertise. So from where do you start to be first in the pile?
Involvement in student organisations like Young Enterprise, AIESEC, and other student organisations will certainly give you a heads up. Employers love active students as this clearly indicates that you are capable of multi tasking and managing your time - key skills for any job. You will almost certainly come across a number of businessmen and key decision makers that could possibly be your future employers during the summer months or once you graduate. Experiences gained in student organisations give you a different outlook to life when compared to the “from home to lecture to home” students, almost certainly giving you an edge during any interview.
Getting involved not only improves your employability but is also great fun.
Elusive summer jobs
Having experience within student organisations will certainly help you get a summer job, however if you do not have any experience in such organisations, you should still do your best to secure employment this summer. Summer jobs exist; the trick is to identify them. The largest numberof jobs would be within catering and tourism. This is your starting point. Other opportunities exist in call centres, research companies, some manufacturing operations as well as companies in the services sector.
I would also suggest that you specifically target all companies that offer careers in your line of studies. Accept any job with these companies as it gives you the opportunity to get noticed. Obviously getting a job which is in your line of studies would be a great bonus but certainly not easy. If you fall hhort of this target getting any Summer job is a first step and certainly an investment.
At KONNEKT we receive thousands of CVs per year. Most CVs look the same due to the standard Europass format. When I was still in formal education teachers used to tell us differentiate yourselves, it seems that this piece of wisdom stopped being passed on. Can you explain how you expect to stand out if your CV is in the same format as that of all your class mates? Do you still think that Europass CV is for you? Find a professional and organised format and move away from Europass… no fussy formats just plain professional.
Success in job hunting, like everything else, has a lot to do with never giving up and being smart. You certainly cannot wait for the right job to be published on the newspaper. Inform your relatives and facebook friends that you are actively seeking employment in summer and get in touch with recruitment agencies. We estimate that around 80% of all jobs are found via word of mouth so you need to get the word out there that you are actively seeking employment. Once you send potential employers a a CV make sure that you follow up (yes follow up) and ask if there is a possibility for an interview. From my experience following up on a CV is the single most effective way to stand out from the rest and squarely demonstrates your commitment that you really want the job.
If you are asked to attend an interview be prepared, practise an introduction about yourself and prepare honest answers for the most common questions. Interviewers like to hear about you, situations you have been in and how you handled them – here is where experience with student organisations comes in handy. Make your research on the company and ideally on the person meeting you. You should not only search the company website but also facebook, linkedin and news articles. If you do this you come across as knowing yourself and your stuff.
After all that effort you finally got an interview. Dress appropriately… yes, even if in the middle of summer. Make sure you know for which job you are being interviewed and take a copy of your CV. Finally you have to be at least 10mins early. During the interview be positive. Make sure you get the contact details of the interviewers so that you can thank him/her for the opportunity. Following up makes you stand out.
So you are lucky and have been offered the job. You don’t want to say “no thanks” because it clashes with your Saturday night out. Just get the job and work hard. If the job is not in line with you career ambitions it stepping stone to a job closer to what want, if the job is in line with your career ambitions than it is the right opportunity to shine.
Some of you might say that studies take up all of your time. My view is that it is all a question of how you use your time. My experience is that if you are disciplined you can still be active and attain good grades – it simply depends whether you are committed to do both. I hope these practical pointers act as a guide to help you succeed in your first steps towards your career. Good Luck!
An adaptation of this article can be found on timesofmalta.com
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