We all know the famous quote when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it , but unfortunately, its meaning starts to fade as soon as you begin the real job hunting.
High street competition has become a genuine battlefield in terms of work placements, internships or permanent jobs. People with vast experience are still struggling to end up on a short list for interviews, which does not always guarantee a contract. Among this acerbic rivalry, students tend to be trapped in the middle facing the obstacle of finding a part-time job or one year experience in the field.
Is there any recipe for success or Coelho’s saying was right after all?
Well, I am not an expert in HR and I do not have a marvellous power of persuasion either, but I can share with you the bitter-sweet experience that I had six months ago when I, the same as thousands of other students, was seeking a part-time job.
1. Cyberspace or High Street?
After couple of weeks of filling online applications and pressing endlessly the upload button, I started feeling like a hamster in a cage running on the treadmill. It is true indeed that some vacancies are only available online, but we are talking about an insignificant amount in comparison with what we can find on high street.
I armed myself with 40 copies of my Curriculum Vitae and I began wandering on London’s streets. Once I reached Oxford Street I briefly scrutinized my options and entered into stores – this time not as a customer, but as a possible employee. My approach was quite straight forward, but it brought me at least 10 interviews by the end of that week so I guess it worked:
Be confident, professional and smiley – you are about to socialize not to attend a funeral. Plus, the first impression counts so make the most of it. Ask to see the manager and have a quick chat with him/her – in this way you can make your entrance and give a short interview without realizing. Why the manager? Because once you leave your CV with the staff it is very much likely to become a hidden treasure, on purpose!
2. Stop turning your CV into a second dissertation
Be concise, honest and tidy. Stop writing pages after pages of short experiences magically twisted into professional careers. Hundreds of papers end up daily in managers’ hands and they are tired of reading novels. Your CV is just a pass towards the next stage, so everything else pretty much depends on you.
3. Be all eyes and ears – you never know where the chance could arise from!
It is better to be the tortoise than the hare. You are a student after all and academic institutions are all here to support your ideas and ambitions. All you need is motivation, motivation and …motivation.
Sometimes it is much easier and time saving to ask your tutors or heads of faculty about the vacancies in your campus. Attend career fairs, take a journey to London’s museum and historical places or become a free-lancer promoting your own idea. You can earn money, develop your skills and meet new people. At times, one small connection weighs more than ten degrees.
Tip – the Talent Bank has career opportunities every week for both across
the University of Westminster faculties and on high-street!
Have a look! 🙂
Read this post and other stories on Diana’s personal blog
Co-Founder @LocalSpoon Tech Entrepreneurship Student @MSc_TE_UCL
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