I’m sure most of you quickly became restless during your break and applied for jobs to earn some extra money, or simply to keep yourselves from the insanity that comes with extreme boredom.
A part-time job is always a great way to gain an understanding of the world of work and to develop skills that are potentially transferable to your desired career. However, I have found that finding a part-time job is becoming more and more difficult in the current economic climate.
At seventeen, I got my first job working in the office of a local company. I simply dropped in my CV and although I had no experience, they were happy to train me in customer service and to use their computer programmes. I worked for them for a year and finished when I went to university.
Two years on, I am applying for a part-time job in Cardiff in order to save to do a masters degree. However, despite having decent grades and a solid reference from my previous employer, I find myself being rejected from several retail and bar jobs due to a lack of experience. Companies don’t wish to invest their time training people. For me it’s a vicious circle, as to get a job I need experience but to get experience I need a job. It baffles me as everyone needs to start somewhere.
One of my friends, a store manager for a well-known clothing retailer, doesn’t understand why businesses are reluctant to offer training to enthusiastic students who know that hard work pays. She particularly emphasised that it doesn’t take very long to show someone the ropes and that all employees are supervised on their first shift until they get the hang of things: “No matter who you hire, you have to spend time ensuring they know what they’re doing. Even if you have retail experience, most companies do things slightly differently anyway, therefore we have to train everyone to some extent.”
If you, like myself have been finding it difficult to find a job, don’t give up. It is very disheartening when you receive another rejection email, but keep at it. If you are tired of jobsites like Indeed, why not try the old fashioned way and print off some CVs to hand in in person.
Although larger retailers and cafés may have more positions available, they may tell you to apply online which gives you no opportunity to make a good first impression unless you are short-listed. Smaller businesses may not advertise for staff online therefore you may have better luck speaking to the manager face-to-face. If you are told that a position may become available, be sure to go back regularly to enquire. Employers will remember your face and will get the idea that you are motivated and determined from this. Just remember that persistence does work and something will turn up eventually.
Also, you could sign up to the ‘Job Shop’, the Union’s free student employment service. All you have to do is fill in a form with your details and provide a valid passport as proof of identity and they will email you several times a week with job opportunities as and when they arise.
The jobs are often one-off events and range from open days to stewarding events at the Motorpoint arena. Emails state if experience is needed and will inform you on how to apply and the dates and times of the jobs in question.
Although the jobs are not permanent, they are great way of earning a little money here and there. If you are someone who has a busy academic schedule and other commitments, this option may suit you well.
The Job Shop is open Monday to Friday between the hours of 10am and 3pm all year, and is on the fourth floor of the Union, so be sure to call in to enquire. If you spend most of your time at the Heath campus, you can register at the Heath Hub, IV Lounge between the hours of 9am and 5pm.