Spring is here and summer student placements are beginning. You have limited experience. How will you get the job best for you?
Here are five ways to impress your potential summer employer and get the most out of your summer job:
1. Review the projects you have completed and the skills and knowledge you have. If you have had any previous jobs – paid or voluntary – review what responsibilities you had, what you accomplished, and what you learned. Go beyond job tasks and think about all the roles you had in the organization. For example, if you worked as a cashier, you did more than operate a cash register. You were the person customer’s communicated with. What kind of service did you provide? Did you ever receive customer feedback? Did any customers ever complain? If so, how did you handle that? What did you learn from your customer service experiences? You were also a team member. How did you demonstrate cooperation with your team mates? List these attributes on your resume. Think about specific examples to demonstrate your attributes and bring them to your interview.
2. Be clear about your interests. Not all employers are looking for job knowledge and skills only. Your hobbies, interests, and involvements help build you as a person. You develop transferrable skills and demonstrate your ability to commit when you are involved with extracurricular activities. Before interviewing, review all of your past and present activities and get clear on what skills you have developed from them. Maybe you are part of a team or band and have developed relationship skills. Maybe you have been involved with a committee and have learned how to present ideas well. Or maybe you love hiking and have honed your organizational skills by organizing group hikes. Whatever your interests and passions, know them and know how you’ve grown as a person from them.
3. Identify what you can contribute. Organizations hire students for a variety of reasons. Ideally, you will receive experience and a pay cheque, and the organization will receive something in return. Understand what you can contribute to an organization before you are interviewed. If you have skills and knowledge for the job, you can certainly contribute that. What else can you contribute? What makes you unique? What can you bring to the organization beyond your job knowledge and skills. Are you skilled at creating ideas? Are you analytical? Are you an excellent communicator? Do you have a passion for sports? How can you bring your unique talents and skills to the organization and go beyond getting the job done? If you don’t know, ask your friends, past colleagues, and family members.
4. Be curious. No matter how much you know, you do not know much. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the interview and on the job. It is more important for you to be able to identify what you don’t know and learn than to know everything. When you are asked to complete a specific task, if you do not know how to do it or where to begin, ask. Although you are not expected to know everything, you are expected to do your job, and you are getting paid for that. Ask and don’t be afraid to try. Oh, and feedback is a good thing.
5. Be mindful. Your supervisors, mentors, and colleagues at work will have lots of experiences and knowledge that you do not have. This is an amazing opportunity to listen and learn. You can also contribute by sharing your knowledge with others. From school (and generally because of your age), you have knowledge of some of the most recent technologies and information in your field. Share it mindfully. Remember that everyone has a different set of experiences and brings their own unique attributes to the workplace.
The key to finding the best summer job for you is to be prepared for your interview. These suggestions augment the traditional success factors for finding a job, such as researching the organization interviewing you. Overall, know yourself, have an attitude of curiosity and enthusiasm, and look for ways to contribute to the organization.
Happy job hunting!
Tina Pomroy, MBA, CHRP, CMEC, is the President of Pomroy Consulting Inc. She provides leadership, management, and HR coaching, consulting, and facilitation to bring organizations to life. For more information on coaching employees and management through sudden change, please contact Tina at 709-728-4810 or firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
LinkedIn is a popular networking site for working professionals. Found at LinkedIn.com, the site makes it easy to create a profile, link to others you have worked with in the past, and more. The goal is to create a professional network that you can use to make additional contacts, through the networks of people in your own network.
Job searching is one of the most prevalent uses of LinkedIn. Job seekers can post a personal profile and work history, identify opportunities, and conduct intelligence gathering on potential companies and hiring managers.
LinkedIn makes it easy to create a personal profile. In fact, it is so easy that there is one new person joining approximately every second. If you are new to LinkedIn, or if you just have some default info and settings, take the time to create a professional profile. It’s just like spending time to work on your resume; it will be worth the time spent. You never know when a potential employer is going to view your profile, so make sure your information is accurate, updated, and consistent with your resume and the story you tell in an interview.
If there are specific companies or areas of work you are looking to get into, you can search for them on LinkedIn. You can see if there are people in your network, or the networks of your connections, that can make introductions, answer questions about the company, and identify whether or not companies are hiring in your area of interest.
When you are further down the job-hunting road, and have an interview scheduled, look up the interviewer(s) and hiring manager on LinkedIn to find out more about them. This may give you an opportunity to open a conversation about a common interest or a connection you have in common. The more you know about the people you will interview and work with, before going in to an interview, the better.
You can also request reviews of your work from people you have worked with at past jobs. This is the electronic version of references. LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to present them to potential hiring managers before they ask for them.
LinkedIn has recently passed over the 100 million users mark. It is the most popular and most successful networking website available, and is a fantastic tool for job seekers. Is it essential to finding a job? No. Will it give you an advantage in networking and intelligence gathering? Definitely.