Since so many people have been asking me this question lately. (Not that I am “successful” career wise or anything, but I must admit, I’ve got my shit together of the last few months) I thought I may just do one mass blog post to address all the different questions I’ve been getting.
So, if you’re interested in:
– How to Find a Job
– How to get Organised
– How to Balance Work/School/Social life Effectively
then you’re in the right place.
How to Find a Job
Disclaimer, I am a student and I’m mainly talking about part-time work, so if you’re reading this don’t expect to get a job at a big law firm etc. read how to get organised and that will give you a better way of going about doing stuff career oriented.
The biggest problem people come to me with is “I don’t have experience“. To be honest, most employers, unless specified in the job ad aren’t to fussed about experience. The easiest type of work to get into these days is retail. Most application forms are done online now and use electronic questionnaires to whittle down eligible candidates. Really and truly, if you get rejected don’t be to upset, the most important thing with job hunting is that it is inevitable that people will reject you, and in most cases they wont even reply to you. Don’t let it make you think you are not good enough to work, I was applying for work for almost a full year before I got any responses and these days, employers are always calling me back.
People also seem to think that only paid work counts as experience. Volunteering is a great thing to put on your CV as it shows you are dedicated even when you weren’t getting paid. If you find you have a lack of paid work AND volunteering work, it is not to hard to do a few hours at your local Oxfam or other charity shop. They frequently have chances to volunteer with them and this is great for applying for retail work.
If you’re not too keen on retail work, an alternative option is bar work. Its fun and you really get to work on your communication skills. Just like retail work, you don’t need a great deal of experience to get into it. However this is where a lot of people get tripped up. Most places you have to hand in or email your CV. I tend to avoid this and just go in to the bar and request to speak to the manager. If you really want to work in a bar, explain to them that you are really passionate about working in a bar and that you are willing to learn. This is a trigger word for most employers. Letting them know that you are willing to learn even if you dont have the previous skills is something most employers look for. If they don’t seem convinced after this, you can always offer to do a trial shift for them, where you don’t get paid and you show them that you are willing to work. Be prepared to be very hands on and observant of what the other bartenders are doing.
As a last point, be humble. If you don’t know a lot about the working world, don’t try to pretend that you do. An employer picks up on these things easily and this is more likely to go against your application rather than helping you.
Also, a big thing for when applying to jobs is your availability. Always try to appear more available than you actually are, because if you do get hired for the job you can always discuss this with your employer.
The best times of years to start applying for jobs is September/October, for Christmas positions, and the summer time – start applying in April/May for summer positions. Most retailers will hire during Christmas, and although it is a temporary position, there are usually opportunities to stay on with them.
so as a recap:
– retail is easy to get into
– put volunteering on your CV – its great work experience
– volunteer if you havent already
– willingness to learn is a trigger word
– be humble
– always appear more available than you are
– best months to apply are September, October, April and May.
How to get Organised
Being organised is one of the most important factors that will determine your success. Organisation does not mean you have to be an OCD freak and write down what you’re going to do from the moment you wake up everyday to the moment your head hits the pillow. In fact I see this approach to organising yourself is quite ineffective.
The most important thing is to learn to manage your time. If you can’t handle keeping track of the time you spend on things, how can you confidently handle your money properly. Time is money.
There are many ways to organise your life, but I’ll explain a method I use. It may take some time for some people to get used to but it’s fairly simple. I try not to be too reliant on technology. With the amount of smart phones available to you, task managers and to do lists are popular apps some people like to use. Setting appointments on your calender and using these apps is not a problem but in reality is not as effective as good old fashion pen & paper. I have a yearly planner, and I write down everything I have to do. Thats lectures, seminars, work shifts, reading assignments, essays deadlines. I prefer to write it down because it lends itself to a theory I like to call Birds-eye Planning.
Think of it this way, if you are trying to find out how to get somewhere with a map, just by focusing on the street you want to get to is not going to give you much help. But if you zoom out a little and get the bigger picture of where you are in relation to where you want to get to, its a lot easier to get there. This same principle applies to my diary. If I can see how much I have to do that week I can mentally prepare myself for what I need to do and it will be a lot better than living day by day and thinking “What do I have to do today”. This approach also enables be to get the right amount of sleep, because if I see I have a lot to do the next day, I aim to go to bed a little earlier so I can wake up early enough. And this leads me to another important part of being organised. Sleep.
Sleep is important and necessary. Unless you have a night job i.e, working in a bar/as security or whatever, you have no reason not to be getting the right amount of sleep. If and when you get a job, it will be alot easier to get to bed earlier, but even if you’re studying, its a good idea to learn to go to bed early AND also wake up early. I aim to be asleep latest by 1am, although I’m usually asleep by midnight. I wake up around 8 or 9 by myself, and I’m usually awake before my alarm goes off. But I must say this is also because of the blind I have in my room. They let in so much light! Even if I think I’ve had a lie in, I look at the time and its usually 8 or 9am.
Waking up early means that you can get the stuff you have to do that day out of the way early, so in the evenings, you have time to relax and spend on yourself. When you are booking appointments with the doctor or bank or anything, aim to book the earlier slots rather than the afternoon.
Its better to get things done early because 1) the day is a lot more productive, and 2) you have more time to rest and socialise in the evenings. Which leads me to the next point.
Its very important to make sure you have time for leisure activities. Its good to have at least one day a week where you have nothing planned. having something to do every day of the week may have been your idea of what it means to be on top of everything, but really and truly, it will catch up with you and you’ll end up slacking off on a day and you’ll start panicking that you didnt do what you were supposed to.
So, now that you have the theory down, let me give you some more specific tips to get you started.
1) If you haven’t already, get yourself a diary. Mine was £8 and was the best investment I’ve made. Mine also includes money saving tips and loads of other sections, but if you dont want to spend £8, you can also get ones for £1 or so.
2) Other than time scheduled activities such as lectures and other appointments, dont give yourself a set time to do something. You’re more likely to get tasks done and you will feel better about yourself once you’ve completed them.
3) Try to read at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be academic, it could be a book you’re interested in.
4) Don’t try to rely to heavily on technology.
5) When you write down your assignment due date, also go backwards in the diary and write for each week how long you have left to complete that assignment.
6) Give yourself rest days.
How to Balance Work/School/Social life Effectively
Some people find that when they start working while at uni or college, sometimes their social life starts to suffer. Its inevitable that any job you have is going to affect your social life but this is also a good way to find out who your true friends are. If someone completely blows you off because you couldn’t come out with them because you were working, or you were tired from work, then good riddance.
Make time for people important to you. Learn to plan to go out with people, rather than on the spur of the moment. The earlier you grasp these skills the better, because you’re going to be doing this for the rest of your life. Its not hard to send a text to see how someone has been doing. Don’t let pride be the killer of your social life. If you are always waiting for people to get in contact with you first, I can guarantee you’ll be pretty miserable.
What you’ll find is that because you’re so busy – time will be going a l0t faster, so it will seem like people are getting at you a lot more than usual. Make an effort to talk to people. You may be tired but at least have a little catch up with people now and then or you might come across as rude.
If you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, this might also have an effect on your love life. A positive effect. People seem to be drawn to what they can’t have, so if you’re a girl for example, and you are constantly busy, guys will be a lot more on you. The same goes for guys.
If are in a relationship, this could be a make or break for you two. Make an effort to talk to or see your partner at least every few days. Skype is an excellent device, because if you finish your day quite late, you can Skype until either of you fall asleep.
Here are some more specific tips to get help you:
1) Learn to prioritise, what is more important? Your education or your social life? (p.s, this is a rhetorical question)
2) Put work and education before anything else, unless it is very important, i.e., friends or family members birthday/wedding..
3) Don’t let pride stop you from contacting people first.
4) Let go of fake friends, they are enemy’s of progress anyway.
So, I hope that helped. Here is a video by a youtube guru I like to watch, about Money. and although the title suggests it, it’s not just specific to girls, it can be used by anyone.