Summer jobs: how to start your career while you’re still at school

desk with post it notes on summer jobs

It may seem absurd to be thinking about careers now, but in a country where the majority of the population has a degree, you have to be able to tick the education box, and the experience box. Summer jobs can help you get ahead and start working towards your career.

The CV

This is perhaps the hardest yet most important part of the process to sort out. If you’re still at school and don’t have any previous work experience, it can seem pointless to create a CV. But if you learn to analyse the skills you’ve picked up throughout your education and extra-curricular activities, you can produce a professional looking document. There are lots of great online resources to help you write your first CV, so it’s worth your while taking a look before you start. As there won’t be much – if any – work experience to include, it won’t be long, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you’re serious about gaining experience.

Baby steps

It’s unlikely that you’ll know exactly what you want to do at this age. If you do, that’s great – you can skip this step! But there’s no harm in being unsure. Look at a variety of industries and placements that interest you, and get as much experience under your belt as possible . Lots of employers will look for office skills, so getting just a few weeks of experience in any sector will be enough to differentiate you from your peers.

Where to look

The best place to start is locally. Go online and search for businesses and companies in your area. Make a list, and email them to enquire about the possibility of doing some work experience, attaching your CV. Plus, if you have any family friends or parents of classmates in an industry you want to learn about, why not ask if you can shadow them? There’s no use in being shy, and you’d be surprised at how happy people are to help.

Getting help

If you’re still stuck on where to go and what to do, visit your guidance counsellor or careers’ advisor at school. These professionals are trained to help you find work experience and give you a good idea of industry life.

Also use Student Ladder to search for job opportunities within specific job industries.

Adjusting to reality

Being an intern or on a work experience placement is rarely as glamorous as TV shows and films make out. You’ll often be doing dull jobs, like making tea and admin duties. However, the more hard work you put in, the more likely you will be invited back in the future. Many people find life-long careers through work experience placements. If you start at the bottom, there’s only one way you can go, and that’s up!

By a guest blogger

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