Since I’ve come to Manchester I have managed, through skill and panache, to get no less than ten part-time jobs. I have been in my current job for nearly a year, so it was in a space of under two years that I somehow managed to get these ten jobs. Of course this means that I haven’t actually spent much time in several of these jobs, but that I have managed to get so many means that there are a lot out there. A lot of people ask me how I have managed to get so many jobs, and how it has been having a part-time job throughout my university life, so I thought that here would be as good a place as any to detail my experiences. Mostly this is advice that I wish I had given myself in the past.
Part 1: Getting a job
There is no easy way to do this. A lot of my jobs have been gained by pure luck; knowing someone or being in the right place at the right time. This isn’t really a very practical piece of advice. The best way to increase your chances of getting a job, I would say, is to actually apply for some. For these ten jobs I applied for probably 75 or so. It’s a laborious and somewhat demeaning process, but when you get a job that you hopefully enjoy, you will forget about the hours spent writing cover letters or going into shops and giving your CV to snotty sales assistants. Making sure your CV or application form is good also helps. If you feel that you don’t have enough experience, go out and get more experience. There are several other helpful blog posts on here about getting volunteering experience. Volunteering experience is invaluable. I volunteered for several months at a Red Cross Shop, which paved the way for my subsequent two years in the glamorous world of retail.
The second part of the application process is the interview. There is no right way for me to say how to do a good interview; in my interview for my last job I ended up talking about petrol prices for five minutes. But generally if you come across as friendly, pleasant, easy to work with and, importantly, that you’ll be flexible, it should stand you in good stead. Being flexible is particularly important in restaurants and bar work. If you can’t/won’t work weekends or late nights, it’s not really worth applying.
In Manchester you are really spoiled for jobs. Even if you have never had a job before, there are a lot of companies such as Verve, At Your Service and Manchester United who hire catering staff year-round.
Part 2: Having a job
This is the part that I wish I had told myself a year and a half ago. I was offered a job in retail on a 32 hour per week contract temporarily for three or four months. The little calculator in my mind went into overdrive and I worked out that I could earn a substantial amount of money. 32 hours per week on top of uni work is not easy. I felt terrible for that semester, and my grades suffered. Thus, always keep in your mind that your part-time job is part-time. No matter how much money you earn now, getting a good degree should, ultimately, earn you more money.
Enjoying your job is also important. This is mainly how I have ended up with so many jobs. Well, several of them were on a temporary contract, and for some of them I only worked a few shifts before I got offered another job. Aside from these reasons, I have never been afraid to quit a job. And neither should you. If you really cannot stand your job or it is giving you excessive stress, it’s probably not worth it. Your personal well-being is more important than £6 an hour. And there are always plenty more part-time jobs out there. It’s part-time, not your career.
Part 3: Using your job
Finally, always think to the future. Consider the skills that you are gaining from your job and how you can apply them in future. Write them down. Update your CV constantly. Even if you don’t want to apply for a job at the time, it’s always useful having an up-to-date copy of your skills and experiences as we are all prone to forget things. Part-time jobs are a great way to gain new skills, improve the skills you already have and get used to the wonders of working life. It can also be a place where you meet some great friends. Oh, and the money’s nice too.
– Sophia White (Student Blogger)