May 12th, 2009 Jamie
With summer finally beginning, I know a lot of you are starting to think about how to earn money over the next few months. In fact, reader Jessica recently requested an article about how to snag a job even if you don’t have much experience. So Jessica, this one’s for you!
First Things First
Before you can apply for a job, first you have to find one. Keep your eyes open around town, ask your parents to look for Help Wanted signs, and check out the offerings on craigslist.org (just be sure to take safety precautions–some of those listings are scams!). Check with friends parents’, grandparents, and old workplaces to see if they need more help during the summer months. Also, pay close attention to tourist spots–theme parks, restaurants, etc.–who tend to need more “seasonal” workers.
With the economy tight, you should probably apply for a few positions in case your top choice doesn’t come through. And remember, the earlier you get started, the better your chances!
Look Good on Paper
Whether you have years of paid experience or just a few hours as a library volunteer, you should definitely type up a resume. It will help you fill out your job application, and when you’re done you can clip it to the back. A good resume can make a great impression.
If you’re a good student, include your GPA on your resume. Employers know that hard working, conscientious students tend to be good employees. Also include any extracurricular activities or leadership positions that would put you in a good light.
Look Good in Person
When you get called in for an interview, the best rule of thumb I’ve found is to dress one step nicer than the typical “uniform” in the office.
For example, when I applied to work at a hobby shop where everyone wore jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers, I opted to upgrade to a button down and some flats, but keep the jeans. For an office position, I kicked it up a notch to heels, a blouse, and a skirt (guys wear might translate to nice shoes, khakis, and a tie).
Basically, you want to look like you’ll fit in AND like you’ve made an effort to look nice, but you don’t want to wear an evening gown to apply for a construction position. Get it?
One thing I’ve learned from my working career (which started when I was 14) is that there is no point to lying during an interview. It will only get you into trouble. If you are the right person for the job–and the job is right for you–then your true colors need to show at an interview. So don’t pretend that you can handle 40 ringing phones if you can’t!
That said, though you should “be yourself” you also need to be professional, so save the Office Space references for your friends.
Keep at It
It is okay to check up on an application, especially if you really want a certain job. If you haven’t gotten an interview, you might want to call once a week to see if they’ve reviewed your application. Be friendly and professional on the phone, even if they put you on hold.
If you have gotten an interview, ask before you leave when you can call them to check in. (If they tell you not to call, though, don’t call. That’s probably a good indicator that you should start looking for other options.)
The economy is hard right now–there’s no getting around it–and that means that even seasoned vets and college grads are having a hard time finding work. So if you don’t get called back right away, don’t give up! Keep applying for new positions until you find a good fit.
Got any tips of your own? Please share!
photo by woodsy
Entry Filed under: jobs & working