Act now to
Get ahead of the rest and prepare for your summer job before the heat sets in, Cara Jenkin writes
YOUNG people planning to get a casual or part-time job this festive and summer season need to start preparing now to beat the stiff competition when applications open.
Casual roles for many summer jobs such as lifeguards at pools and beaches, sales assistants at specialty and department stores and waiters and baristas at restaurants and coffee shops are advertised as early as this month because it can take several weeks for recruiters and employers to sift through the applications and complete the interview process.
Many employers also leave it to the last minute and need casual workers already armed with the skills who can immediately step in and keep up with the pace.
Getting the attention of employers can be hard, as recruiters spend an average 6 seconds to make a decision about whether an applicant is fit for the job.
Career counsellors urge students to get their applications in order now so they are ready to pounce on jobs when they are advertised, while it also takes the pressure off later when the focus is on exams.
Career counsellor Monica Magann works at Prince Alfred College and says ‘‘ the early bird gets the worm’’.
She says students must canvas all options when looking for jobs, from reading job advertisements in paper and online as well as approaching employers direct or applying through company websites, to increase the chance of success.
‘‘ It’s really competitive,’’ Magann says.
‘‘ A big mistake that kids make is that they take it entirely from the wrong perspective of how much they have to impress the employer.
‘‘ Even if they only babysat, they need to talk in terms of what they can offer the business.’’ She says a dynamic resume that gets the attention of the employer will help, such as supplying a clear head and shoulder photograph of them pictured in their school uniform.
‘‘ There’s things you can do without making it look over the top,’’ she says.
Practising for an interview also is important to weed out nerves or help to be prepared to answer questions.
Recruitment firm Robert Half research shows that it takes about 10 minutes for an interviewer to form a positive or negative opinion about an applicant.
‘‘ It’s really helpful for kids who are really nervy to know the answer to what their strengths are, what customer service is,’’ Magann says.
‘‘ When asked ‘ What’s your weakness?’, don’t share a character flaw – ‘ I’m an overachiever’ or ‘ I sleep late’ – pick something that you’re working on that’s related to the role but not huge to the employer.’’
Most workers aged 15 to 19 in part-time jobs are employed in retail or hospitality.
There were 181,000 teenagers employed in retail part time last summer compared with 27,000 in full-time work.
Spend-less Shoes managing director John Charlton says retail needs motivated and passionate workers who give exceptional customer service so it is what it looks for in potential staff.
‘‘ We also look for people who have a positive attitude for a good cultural fit,’’ Charlton says.
‘‘ Once we get these fantastic people on board, we do not want to lose them, we prefer to hire with the intention of providing continuing work.’’
The business this year celebrates 25 years since its first store and expands at an average of 14 new stores a year.
It receives more than 1000 applications annually for about 200 new jobs.
Last summer, the accommodation and food services sector employed 183,000 young people part time across Australia.
A further 17,000 were employed full time.
Cafe owner Peter Giannakis says completing a nationallyrecognised course such as barista training or responsible service of alcohol will stand young people in good stead when applying to hospitality industry employers.
He says many young people do not have the experience that many employers seek when they apply for jobs but by doing a short course, and listing that on the resume, they gain the foot in the door they need.
Students must also be prepared to sell themselves if they do not have experience to go with their qualification, such as saying ‘‘ I haven’t worked for anyone else but I make amazing coffee’’.
‘‘ From November to February, there’s a phenomenal demand for more casual staff,’’ he says. ‘‘ In cafe precincts, all of a sudden they just get inundated with people screaming for coffees.’’