Josef Said talks about the importance of students securing a summer job to ensure their career kickstarts on the right track.
If you are a student, you are probably totally immersed in your studies, especially during this time of the year, with little or no time to dedicate to thinking about 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 in line with your studies is not easy. If you have had a hand at it, you have certainly been told 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 advertised. So, where do you start to be first in the pile?
Involvement in student organisations, like Young Enterprise and AIESEC, will certainly give you a heads-up. Employers love active students, as this indicates that you are capable of multi-tasking and managing your time - key skills for any job.
Experiences gained in student organisations give you a different outlook to life, especially 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.
Having some experience will surely help you get a summer job. However, if you do not have any experience, you should still do your best to find a job this summer. Summer jobs exist; the trick is to identify them.
The largest number of jobs are 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 also suggest you specifically target all companies that offer careers in your line of studies. Accept any job within these companies, as this gives you the opportunity to get noticed.
Getting a job that is in your field of study would be a great bonus, but certainly not easy. If you fall short of this target, getting any summer job is a first step and certainly an investment.
Thousands of CVs are received by recruitment companies. Most look the same due to the standard Europass format. When I was still in formal education, teachers used to tell us to differentiate ourselves. It seems this piece of wisdom is no longer being passed on.
You cannot expect to stand out if your CV is identical to your classmates'. Do you still think the 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 has a lot to do with never giving up and being smart. You certainly cannot wait for the right job to come to you. Inform your relatives and Facebook friends you are actively seeking employment in summer and get in touch with recruitment agencies.
It is estimated that around 80 per cent of all jobs are found via word of mouth, so you need to get the word out there that you are looking for a job.
Once you send potential employers a CV, make sure you follow up and ask if there is a possibility for an interview. Following up on a CV is the single most effective way to stand out from the rest of the applicants and demonstrates commitment.
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 - this is where experience within student organisations comes in handy.
Do your research about the company and ideally on the person meeting you. You should not only search the company website but also Facebook, Linked In and news articles.
After all that effort, you finally got an interview. Dress appropriately... yes, even if in the middle of summer. Make sure you know which job you are being interviewed for and take a copy of your CV.
Finally you have to be at least 10 minutes early. During the interview be positive. Make sure you get the contact details of the interviewers so you can thank them for the opportunity. Following up helps you stand out.
You have been offered the job. You don't want to say "no thanks" because it clashes with your Saturday night out. Just take the job and work hard. If the job is not in line with you career ambitions, it is a stepping stone to a job closer to what want. If the job is in line with your career ambitions, then it's the right opportunity to shine.
Some of you might say studies take up all of your time. My view is that it is all a question of how you use your time. If you are disciplined, you can still be active and attain good grades - it simply depends whether you are committed to doing both.