Vac Jobs – How To Get Them And Why You Need Them
Employers would like you to have some work experience while you are studying. All work, whether paid or voluntary, allows you to develop skills that you don’t always gain through your studies. Working in a new environment allows you to network and develop useful contacts for later in your working life. Also, your supervisor can be used as a reference for job applications after graduation.
Gaining work experience helps you learn and enhance transferable skills that employers look for:
- Ability to handle pressure
- Commitment and responsibility
Include all types of work experience that you’ve had on your CV, and remember to point out the skills that you developed in the process.
Internships Are An Option
You may have had a work experience opportunity whilst at school, such as “work shadowing” where you watch but don’t work. Interns are required to work. Some companies offer internships as a chance for them to try out candidates. Unpaid internships are controversial as they are restricted to those who can support themselves.
Stipends and minimum payment may be offered, but the point is gaining experience, not expecting a big salary. It is exploitative to offer a job for no payment. Be sure to assess each opportunity and what it may offer you. Large corporations, especially in the finance, consulting and IT sectors often run formal work-placement schemes and recruit graduates who win internships with them. These can be challenging, demanding and highly sought-after positions. Do your research and apply early.
Taking on part-time work while you study can significantly boost your employability after graduation. While qualifications are necessary, employers value work experience very highly. In some sectors, it is vital to demonstrate that you have experience of working in that field to secure a full-time job. Employers look for part-time work on CVs as it helps to show that you are self-motivated, reliable and have experience of the world of work.
The Benefits of Part-Time Work
Part-time work can be a beneficial experience in a particular profession or sector and provides you with a useful referee outside of the University. It also puts you in a strong position if applying for a full-time job within that organisation as the staff there will know what you are capable of.
It can also give you the opportunity to develop a network of contacts who might look favourably upon any future applications you make.
CVs and applications are all about demonstrating the skills, knowledge and experience you have gained. Part-time work can provide you with the perfect opportunity to gather the evidence for this.
Tips On Looking For Part Time Work
- Think about what hours you can do. Don’t let work conflict with course timetable
- Decide what type of work you wish to do, i.e. office work, care work, coaching. Are you trying to gain any particular skills or experiences to help with your future career?
- Apply for advertised jobs, visit local shops or supermarkets with a CV (Careers Service can provide support and advice for CV writing). Visit the website www.careers.uct.ac.za for resources
- Use your contacts, ask your friends and fellow students if they know of any opportunities. If you have worked for a shop or bar elsewhere in the country, see if you can transfer to a more local branch.
- Use as many sources as you can, and be persistent, follow up any leads or contacts, and be prepared to go back
- Give yourself time to make high-quality applications, even a short one can take time to complete. Don’t sell yourself short with a poor application, one good quality application is worth 10 rushed ones.
- Know your rights and responsibilities at work
Applying For Part-Time Jobs
A part-time job needs a serious and good quality application, so don’t rush it. The application is your chance to make a good impression. There are many ways of applying for part-time work – some informal and some very formal. But regardless of the application process, you will usually need a CV, references and documents. Have everything ready.
If the job is being advertised, you may need to fill in an application form. If you have heard that there are part-time jobs available, then don’t wait for the advert to come out.
- Do some research into the company – what are they looking for?
- Find out the name of the contact person
- Post or drop in a covering letter and a short CV
- State what you are looking for and how you heard about the job
- Be prepared to be interviewed on the spot
Studying and Working
Although working part-time can improve both your employability and your bank balance, it can be difficult to fit everything in. Here are some practical suggestions from the National Association of Student Employment Services to help you successfully combine work and study commitments.
- Always carry a diary or enter information onto an e-diary so you know what course work dates are and when assignment hand in dates are etc. This will help you to keep track of deadlines.
- Try to anticipate if a busy time is coming up on your course or at your place of work, plan ahead as much as possible and try to move things around to create a balance.
- Employers will be more sympathetic if you advise them as soon as you can that you can’t work. Try to suggest practical solutions and take responsibility for any changes in the rota.
- If you are struggling to balance work and study, talk to someone as soon as you can.
- Be realistic about what you can fit in – remember there are only 24 hours in a day – don’t over promise then under deliver.
- Try to cut back on part-time work during exam times. Organise some time off before exams and do not agree to extra shifts or overtime currently.
- Don’t forget to give yourself time to unwind and relax after work or study.