Now that you’re settled into your lectures, you might be thinking about taking on a part-time job while you study. These are increasingly valued by employers as evidence that candidates are familiar with a working environment and possess some of the skills (organisation, time-keeping, interpersonal skills) that are essential to working life.
Applications for these types of jobs are generally much more straightforward than for graduate careers, but there are still some important points worth bearing in mind. In particular, the CV you send to employers for part-time work should be different to the one you use for graduate applications. Here are a few tips for preparing a CV for part-time jobs:
When applying for graduate jobs, the Education section of your CV should come before Work Experience. However, when applying for part-time jobs, reversing this order can be a good idea so that you emphasize what the employer is more interested in.
- Emphasise skills
You don’t need to stress your academic achievements as heavily (so no lists of the modules you’ve taken, for example), but you do need to draw attention to the broader skills you’ve gained at school or university or through other jobs. If you haven’t done this before, think about what these could be: being a prefect at school shows evidence of responsibility, for example, while being a captain of a sports team shows leadership and organization skills.
- Personal statement
Personal statements are a good idea for any CV, but they are crucial for CVs for part-time work, because the employer will want a quick overview of you as a candidate – and may not spend all that long looking at the rest of your CV! Try to avoid just stating the skills you think are necessary for the job (e.g. ‘I have good communication skills’). If you can, make your statement personal and relate it to how you hope the job will contribute to your overall career development, for example through transferrable skills. Since you’re a university student, the employer isn’t going to expect you to stay there forever!
Since you are still a student, you will also need to fit any part-time job around your studies – but as a rule it’s best to leave discussions of when you can and can’t work to the interview stage. Finding the right balance between studies and part-time work is the best way to ensure that you’re an impressive candidate when applying to graduate positions.
Joe Cronin, Application Adviser