Act now to

Get ahead of the rest and pre­pare for your sum­mer job be­fore the heat sets in, Cara Jenkin writes

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

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.’’

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