Monday, April 21, 2008

Landing that Summer Job

by Luke McIlwee, intern

If you’re anything like me, you wait until the last minute to do everything. School’s end is in sight and it’s not too late to start looking for a summer job. So instead of procrastinating, get on it now. The first question you need to ask yourself is “what kind of place do I want to work?” and more importantly “what kind of work do I want to do?” If you already know you don’t want anything to do with flipping burgers at some fast food joint, then congratulations, your one step closer to reaching your goal.

The beginning stages of your search revolve around narrowing down your choices. Take a stroll to your nearest shopping center and take a look around. There are restaurant, clothing stores, book shops, sporting good outlets, and all sorts of job opportunities. Find a couple that catch your eye and look like they might be a good fit. Take the initiative to go inside and scope the place out. Talk to the people working there and see how they like their jobs. If they complain that their manager makes them clean the toilets more than should be legally permitted, try to hold in your screams of fear and exit in a timely fashion. But if the vibe is right and you can realistically visualize yourself working there, then the next step is to grab a manager’s attention. Introduce yourself with a big smile and ask if they have any open positions available. Don’t forget to grab an application and thank them on your way out.

So you managed to acquire an application, now that deserves a standing ovation. Definitely put in the time and effort required to repeat this process at least five times to ensure that you will get some calls. It can be a good idea to get applications from several different genres of business as well. That way, if you’re still unsure of what kind of job interests you, you’ll have plenty of different ones to choose from. If you’re a big fan of washing dishes, then add a couple restaurants to your list. If you really like having impatient people give you ridiculously complicated coffee orders, then you will most definitely enjoy Starbucks (I know from experience). Whatever your niche is, it won’t be too hard to find if you put some thought and planning into it.

Ok hot shot! You stuffed your pockets to the brim with applications, filled them out and returned them to their appropriate institutions. Bravo. If you presented yourself well on paper, you will be getting calls from several of your potential employers to schedule a presentation of yourself in person. This means you will have to suffer the long and dreadful process that is the job interview. But do not fret, because your about to learn a fool proof method for being successful in any interview situation. Just follow these basic guidelines, and you will be laughing your way straight to the bank in no time.

1. You are the Prize: So they called you. This means they are interested in you as an employee. This does not mean they want to throw you on an operation table and dissect you until every flaw is revealed. So shift your paradigm to calibrate with the social event that is about to take place. Before the interview you must internalize the fact that you are the prize. This means that the employer will be lucky if you choose to work there, not the other way around. So don’t sweat this! Ultimately you should be interviewing the interviewee in a way, in order to see if this is the right job for you and if what they have to offer meets your high standards (assuming you have them). Just be confident and show a genuine interest in the position.

2. Look the Part: You wouldn’t hire a teenager who looks like he just woke up on the neighbor’s front lawn after a night of partying would you? First impressions are lasting impressions, so you should take advantage of this. Your interviewer will sum up your image before you even have chance to open your mouth, so make it a good one. This can be achieved by dressing well. Wear clothes that are clean, in good repair, and that fit well. A long sleeve collared shirt with some Dockers and a savvy belt will usually do the trick

3. Speak with your Body: 70% of all interactions are not verbal, so you better get your body language handled. From the very second you see your interviewer bust out that big beautiful smile. This simple gesture displays friendliness, optimism and confidence. Do this while making strong eye contact and keeping your body relaxed. This means no fidgeting, dazing off into space, or slouching. Stay focused while keeping your posture upright and directed towards your questionnaire. Pay attention to your interviewer’s body language, and mirror it if possible. This means if our interviewer has his hands resting on the table in front of him, do the same thing. Duplicating body language has been shown to improve the social connection and overall quality of interactions.

4. The Ultimate Career: Life isn’t about finding jobs to make money so you can afford to fill up your car with gas. It’s about enjoying your experiences and making the best of them. So don’t consider finding a job...well a job. Consider it another stepping stone down your yellow brick road of adventure, and have some fun! If you follow these steps and do it with some pep in your step you’ll have a great summer job in no time.

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