5 Ways to Improve Your Chances at Getting a Summer Job

Want to improve your chances at getting a summer job?

Social Media

Review your social media profile with a critical eye. It’s best to make your Facebook profile partially or completely private. You can never predict what an employer may find off-putting; clubbing photos and strong opinions alike can come across in the wrong way. However it can also give an impression of who you are.

“About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles.” Forbes 2013

On a positive note, join Linkedin if you haven’t already. Create a public listing and update it with new information and a fresh headshot. Make sure the picture is neutral and well lit. Skip group photos, or ones featuring props or alcohol.

Review Your CV

Adapt your CV for the kind of job you’re looking for. You can find templates for specific types of casual work in Microsoft Word and free online. You should also (unless specifically asked not to) write a good cover letter tailored to the place you are applying. If you don’t have much paid work experience talk about other things you have done.

Are you your class rep? Do you captain the rugby team, or even just play in it? These voluntary roles can demonstrate commitment and responsibility in lieu of previous work experience.

Triple check your CV for dates, spelling, grammar and inconsistencies. Check the header and footer; you don’t want to send out a CV with a templated logo. If you can, print it out and read it back to yourself to make sure it makes sense.


Dress for Success

First impressions really do count, and dressing for success can really help your chances. You don’t need to break out a suit and briefcase, especially if you’re planning to work in retail, catering or a creative field. A lot of it’s more about looking polished.

Tailored trousers are a good call for men and women, paired with an ironed button up or smart blouse. A smart dress can also work, so long as it isn’t too low cut or tight. A blazer can smarten up your look.

Also, do pay attention to the little things, such as filing your nails, styling your hair, ensuring your shoes are clean and your coat is well brushed. For women, take an attractive, but neutral, unflashy bag with you and pick subtle jewellery. If you’re interviewing at a fashion shop, go the extra mile and wear their brand. For guys, trim your facial hair or shave, and ensure you wear clean black or neutral shoes.

Look in the Right Places

To start with, don’t disdain your University’s career service. They can often connect you with local temporary opportunities and even work abroad roles. From there, register at temp agencies in person and online. Look on foot around your town centre for shop and restaurant work. Some places, such as Monsoon or Boots will ask you to apply online, but often you can drop off a CV or pick up an application.

It’s a faux pas to drop off unsolicited CVs at offices – communicate exclusively via email. Be careful with advice as well. Some organisations will encourage you to bombard a hiring manager with daily emails or phone calls because it ‘shows enthusiasm’. In reality it will irritate the person involved, and signal that you are unaware of professional norms.

Interview Tips

interview tips

The formality of interviews for summer jobs can vary enormously. A job at Selfridges will involve three interviews including a written and sales portion. Lush ask for an essay and two interviews in some places. Some may be contingent just on your ability to pull a pint and look presentable. Interviews are often less formal nowadays, unless you are going into corporate law or other more structured, conservative professions.

Don’t be fooled though; your interviewer may be wearing a t-shirt and talking to you in a coffee shop, but you are still being assessed. Research the place of business, their mission statement and their social media as much as you would in a formal interview situation. If nothing else, consider it good practice for future, higher level jobs.

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