When it comes to finding work, being a student can be tough.
Not only do you need to showcase your skills with limited work experience, but you need to be able to find work that fits around your busy study schedule and social life.
With that being said, there is work out there. It’s just a matter of knowing what kind of jobs are a good fit for students, where to find them, and how to snag one for yourself.
Finding job opportunities
There are all kinds of job search tools out there, but when it comes to student jobs, those can be less than helpful. Employers might be looking for either graduates or people with previous experience, which as a student, you might not have yet and that’s perfectly normal.
A better way to go about hunting for jobs as a student is to learn how to network, and then leverage those networks to help you get a foot in the door.
The good news, as far as networking goes, is that you’ve already got connections. You know your peers, your lecturers, professors, and tutors, all of who are related to the area that you’re studying in – and might even want to work in over the longer term.
Set yourself up with a LinkedIn profile, start connecting with the people you know, and begin interacting with them. Make this a news feed where you can learn more names, and start broadening your network and job prospects.
Start attending conventions, job fairs, and career expos around areas that interest you. Consider having a digital or physical business cards made up. Always make sure you follow up via email with anyone that you interact with. If you present yourself as knowledgeable and skilled, you’ll find that the job opportunities start to come to you.
Sometimes, you might find that you meet all but one or two of the requirements of a job ad. Don't worry, you can still apply for it! Even if a job seems to be of a tangent interest to you, there’s no harm in applying and if you're lucky, you just might land an interview.
Attending interviews gives you the opportunity to practice the craft of interviewing, understand the kinds of questions commonly asked, and learn how to be comfortable and confident. That way, when a job does come along that you’re perfect for, you’ll be able to make sure the interviewer knows it.
Door-knock with your resume
In many cases these days, when you apply for a job, you do it online – whether that’s through a formal job application form, or simply emailing your resume to the hiring manager.
Where you can, handing a resume in personally is a good idea. Even if you’re ultimately directed to also complete an online form, there’s a good chance you’ll get some kind of face time with people in the company, which is a chance to show initiative, form a personal connection, and be just that little bit more memorable when the time comes to assess candidates.
Understand which are the right jobs for you
If you’re really struggling to gain traction and interviews, consider whether you’re applying for the right jobs.
Go through each job ad that you’re applying for with a red pen and circle the keywords that show the kind of candidate that the employer is looking for. These will be a mix of experience and skills, as well as personal qualities. Some jobs will require you to work certain hours, own a car, or have other external criteria met as well.
Ask yourself honestly if you check off each of these criteria. If so, then great! The next thing to do is write a cover letter that addresses every one of the points that you just circled, showing that you understand and meet all of them. Then send the application in, along with your resume.
It can be difficult to meet all the criteria of an advertised position, especially if it requires years of experience. However, don’t worry too much if you don’t meet all of the criteria. If you can show them that your skills and other qualities fit the description of what they’re looking for, you still have a shot. It’s really important that you can back this up with solid examples.
You may already have the skills
Personal qualities (e.g. “needs to be driven”) are easy to claim you have, but the hiring manager will want to see proof. How do you prove that you’re driven? Having an achievement that you needed to work towards, for example. Perhaps you won a major sporting championship, or delivered an impressive fundraiser for a local community. You’re going to need to back up every claim that you made in your application, so make sure that you can do that.
It doesn't matter where you start
While working and studying can be a tiring task to balance, it’s a good idea to get some work experience under your belt for once you’ve finished university. After all, above the nice-to-haves (such as some extra money in the bank), being able to show two years of part-time work once you’re out there looking for a full-time job is going to put you in a much better position than a graduate with no work experience.
Being as organised as possible will help you build your confidence while looking for a job. When you land a job you’ll need a bank account, Tax File Number and a super fund. Student Super
can help you by getting you set up with a super fund before you find a job. Find out more now