Thought the last application you'd have to fill out was for your university place? Well, think of that as practise for the applications you now have to fill out to find part-time work. It takes a little while to get it right -even adults with decades of job experience have trouble with applications -but these top tips will help you get started. As with your piano lessons, football and maths, the more jobs you apply for, the better you'll understand what to do.
Apply for the right jobs
Don't roll your eyes at this one -a lot of people get it wrong. Before you apply for anything, it's important to understand what your skills are, and what you can realistically offer an employer. For instance, while a year of retail experience may seem like a lot to you, it's not enough for you to become a store manager. And the fact that you have a degree in communications or media studies won't guarantee you a job as an editor or PR campaign manager.
While you should be confident and proud of your skills, remember that there are lots of other people out there applying for these jobs too. It's ok to start out at one of the lower rungs of the career ladder -if you really are good at what you do, your employers will see that and you may be able to progress more quickly.
Third (or more) time's the charm
So you've just sent off a couple of applications, and now feel you can sit back and tick “find a job” off your list. Not quite…you haven't had any offers from those applications yet, and there's a chance that you may not get any of the jobs you've just applied for. The more applications you have out there, the more chance you have of landing a job from one of them, so keep going until you hear that you're hired.
Don't skip details
Your CV and cover letter are the first impressions your potential employer will have of you, so make sure they include everything -and we mean everything -that will help show you have what it takes to do the job. You don't have to go as far back as selling cakes to the neighbours when you were six years old, but any volunteer or paid work you did while you were in school is fair game. Explain your qualifications clearly, and list any actual or expected grades. Remember to add a few lines about any of your extra-curricular activities and interests, as these add personality to your application.
We mentioned earlier that it's important to be confident in your skills when you're thinking about which job to go for, and it's also essential that you convey this same certainty on your job application. Don't “think” that you have good inter-personal skills, say that you do have them. Don't “feel” that you're good at learning new things, say that you are.
Check, and check again
It's a shame to put so much effort into your application, only to have it be discounted because of spelling and grammar mistakes -avoid this by reading it over two or three times before sending it. It helps to put it aside for an hour or so before you give it a proofread. Ask your friends and family to read it as well, as they may spot things you've missed.
Ask for feedback
If you find out that you didn't get a job you applied for, it's ok to ask the company why they didn't want to hire you. Their answers will help you figure out whether your applying for the right jobs, or if you're presenting the right kind of information in the best way on your CV and cover letter.