Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Top 10 Places To Find Summer Work

With the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter still in production, we thought we'd lighten things up a little with a practical list of places you may or may not have thought of for work!

It may start simple, but so should you. If simple isn't enough, well, I've broken it down pretty thoroughly towards the end!

10) Your parents & immediate family - wait what? Yes indeed. Your parents. They aren't just cash cows who live to wait on and serve you. There may have been times in the past when you went to work with your mom or dad for a day, for a bit of resume experience or just a fun day out. I'm not talking about this type of work. I'm talking about approaching your parents or family maturely with a reasoned proposal as to why they should consider paying you to work with them. You may well be surprised with the outcome. Approach them maturely, explain to them your situation and tell them you are willing to work as hard, if not harder, than any of their other work colleagues. If necessary, offer to work the first day or so free so they can see you are serious about it.

9) Your neighbors - again you're immediate reaction may be "Come on, get real". But I am being real, very real. You'd be very surprised the response you may receive if you approach the people from your neighborhood as a mature adult and present yourself correctly. I'm not talking about offering to mow their lawn or wash their car for cash in the summer, I'm suggesting you ask them if there's any way you can help them with out their job whilst explaining to them you are prepared to work your butt off at the same time.

8) Your friendsthe same principle applies here as with your neighbors and family. Though you know what they say - never mix business and friendship. This may well turn out a very good response, but bear in mind the ramifications if you turn out to be unreliable or slack off - if you pursue this course of action, make sure you're prepared to work hard, or deal with the consequences it may yield for your friendship!

7) Your school/college/university -  for college and university especially, you'd be surprised how many of the workforce comprises current or past students. Your college has a bar? Great ask behind the bar and hand in a resume, or if you're friends with a member of the bar staff? Even better - get them to recommend you. Fast food place on campus? Ask them. Library? Ask them. Shops, every academic-school on campus, sports facilities, campus accommodation, admin positions? Ask them. You get the gist - ask everywhere that is manned by people, you'll be surprised believe me.    

6) Your local areaa lot of people from experience will generally only ask at their local corner store, then decide there's no work. Again, you don't ask - you don't get. Ask at the corner store, the pharmacy, any paper routes, any fast food vans, any fast food restaurants, any local businessmen in the area. Everywhere.

5) Fast-food in general - A little cliche? Maybe. But it's a fact. Fast-food restaurants generally employ a high volume of staff and tend to have a high turnover - they are constantly losing and gaining staff. You've probably thought about a ton of places in the back of your mind you know you could probably find work, but didn't want to as you were holding out for something better. Everybody does it. You're not the only one. However, if you wan't a job and you want money - get over to every fast food joint and restaurant/cafe in town with a resume tailored to the fast-food industry and a can-do attitude.

4) Retail stores Very similar to fast-food chains, large retail stores employ a large number of staff, generally students in College city's/towns. They also have a high turn-over. This includes everything from Hollister & Urban Outfitters to Primark and Macys. Ask everywhere. I mean everywhere. Go up and down your local high-street and here's what you do. Approach the store counter and you say: "Hiya, I was just wondering if you guys were hiring at all at the moment?" It's as easy as that. You'll receive one of several responses, generally something like this. "Hey! Umm I'm not sure, let me just check with the manager" or "Hey, Umm I'm not sure, you could hand over a C.V/resume though just in case?". If possible, make sure you talk to the manager or a member of the management team. Just say "Oh o.k, would it be possible to have a quick word with the manager?" - a lot of the time if you hand in a resume to the shop-floor staff it won't reach anybody and nothing will come of it. Asking to speak to the manager shows initiative and forward thinking.

3) Bars & nightclubs - the staple employment of students everywhere. The places you love to go and spend your money, then wake up in their side alley with no memory of the night before. The best time to ask them for work? Mid-day.

A lot of these places will be open during the day, doubling up as cafe's or chilled out spots to hang out and grab a bite. However, if not, make an effort to go on a hunt and catch the other ones that aren't before they start getting busy - they generally open around 4-6pm and don't get busy until 7 or 8 at the earliest. Now bear in mind you're applying to bars and nightclubs here, don't walk in wearing a suit and tie - go smart casual, jeans and a cool t-shirt is your best bet.

2) Job aggregation sites - these have taken off massively in the last 5 years and dependent on where you live, they will differ - though they are easy to locate and use.

For the U.K - you're talking about sites such as,, Reed, Milkround and by far the most important for students - your University Employability portal if you have one.

In the USA there are heaps - USAJobs, Jobsboom, TopUSAJobs, and 
for starters.

Some of these sites require you to register, which you should do in full. Think of it as an investment. Put a whole day aside if necessary and create a detailed profile across all the top job sites for your location.

And to stay ahead of the curve - TweetMyJobs - is a must. More and more employers are finding quality employees through social media today. Take the time to register with TMJ and spend a few hours searching through and experimenting with it - there'll be more on this in the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter Part 2!

1) Google - by far your best resource is still good ol Google, combined with some initiative of course. But I'll break it down for you anyway.

Let's say for example you're looking for part time retail work, here's what you do.

*Step 1*

- Head over to Google
- Search for part-time work in (your location)
- Voila, the first 5-10 pages at least will be full of heaps of stuff.

*Step 2* 
-Nothing good popped up? O.k
- Take a pen and paper. Now, write down every single shop you've ever seen/heard of. Take 10 minutes, really think about it, ask your parents, friends, family as-well.
- Go through the list, typing each into Google like so
- 'Work at Mcdonalds (your location). If this doesn't work, simply: 'McDonalds *your location*'.
- This will provide you with the stores location, address, telephone number and in most cases email.
- Now, send your retail based c.v to their email with a cover letter, or ring them inquiring as to whether they have work at the moment.

*Step 3*
-Still not enough?
- Apply the methodology from above to Twitter using the tips from the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter Part One.

Anything I missed you'd like to add? Let me know!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

How Not To Be Late For Work

Landing a job is one thing. Keeping it, well, that's another...

*7 AM* Alarm goes off. Ahhh man. *SNOOZE*
*7.15 AM* Shut-up already!! *SNOOZE*
*8.30 AM* Oh sh.... not again....

Sound familiar? 

If you find getting up for work a daily struggle, then read on.

Do some exercise in the evening.

This is especially useful for office/white collar workers. Think about it for a minute. How many of you guys struggle to get up in the morning? And what's the first thing you do once you get to work in the morning? A big strong cup of Joe, right? 

Well, I'm not gonna tell you to lay off the coffee, as I know what a nightmare it is struggling through a days work without it. However, I will recommend that you do some exercise in the evening after work to burn off all the caffeine in your system. Why? Did you know that caffeine can reside in your system from anywhere between 6 to12 hours? No, I didn't either until a few months ago when I sorted out my sleep pattern! So if you're drinking coffee all day and have your last cup around 3pm - you do the math!

But back to the exercise; make sure you finish exercising an hour or so before you plan on going to bed if possible. Ideally, do it as soon as you get off work. Even going for a swim or jogging for 30-40 minutes will make a difference. Aim for aerobic (not too intense, but long lasting) exercise as oppose to lifting weights - it should help a lot.

Why will that help? Because your tired from the exercise - your body will be able to fall into a natural, restorative sleep a lot easier. Meaning as time progresses, you'll fall into a good routine and 8 hours will be more than enough sleep, allowing you to wake up easily. 

Depending on how well you sleep however, don't expect results overnight. For problem sleepers this can take up to a month sometimes - don't give up though, it's worth it in the long run!

Better yet - fancy kicking the coffee? Take a lot at how -

Eat something sugary before going to bed

I'll spare you too much of the science behind it, but eating, or drinking, a small sugary snack before going to sleep can help prevent you waking up prematurely - thus disrupting your sleep pattern and making it harder for you to wake up when you need to. 

Basically, the sugar will delay your blood sugar dropping too much throughout the night - this is what can often wake you up prematurely or leave you feeling horrible and groggy in the morning.

Again be smart with this, don't eat a ton of junk food or drink a litre of milk as you won't sleep, something easy like a tablespoon of peanut butter should do the trick.

When you wake up, get up. 

It may sound even worse than getting up for work - but if you wake up naturally an hour or so before you have to, get up. If you go back to sleep and are then woken an hour later - your waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle and your body is going to be in a world of WTF is going on. Aim for 3 hour sleep cycles. So if you can't get 8 hours, get 6 as the next best thing. Don't ask me why 8 hours is recommended as the optimum amount of sleep, given that a sleep cycle consists of 3 hours. 

This will benefit you in the long run as you'll be able to fall asleep easier in the evening due to your sleep debt and will help achieve deep restorative sleep, rather than erratic, interrupted sleep.

Don't be a snoozer

I'm guessing the majority of us have an iPod by now. So here's what you do. If you don't have an iPod, be creative - it's pretty easy to setup with a laptop or phone too. The premise - getting you out of bed to turn off the alarm.

You may or may not know this, but it's very easy to set an alarm on your iPod - an alarm that instead of playing that horrific *waaah waah waaah* sound, can play whatever you like. Thank god.

I found that setting an alarm on my phone which was right by my bed was no good, as I'd just constantly snooze it until I was late all over again.

What did help - was hooking my iPod up to my speaker system, then placing the iPod on top of my wardrobe at the back corner, so it was impossible for me to turn it off without getting out of bed and standing on a chair to reach it. The first couple of times you're going to hate it, believe me. But once you've got up to turn the alarm off, the combination of irritation and shock should be enough to have woken you up properly.

What you chose to play is up to you - a bit of trial and error is necessary here. Some people swear by calming, soothing music at a low to mid volume to wake up to gradually. Personally, I find it's better to blast out something hard hitting and high tempo so it sort of shakes me awake. Something that motivates and cheers you up is always good too! Whatever works for you really!

Still struggling to wake up in the morning? Sleep pattern still screwed? Leave a comment letting me know and I'll throw together an Insomniac's Guide on Waking Up for Work!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Job-Seekers Guide to Twitter - Part 1

So after a couple of heavy articles on CV and Cover Letter writing, I thought it was time to lighten things up a little bit.

As the title suggests, Twitter, besides from being very cool and fun to play around on,  is also a very useful employability tool.

But, how can you make use of Twitter in your job hunt?

Well, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter first of all I'll run you through a quick step-by-step to setting yourself on Twitter.

Today's SSG Goof pic courtesy of Sarah Chong, co-founder of Penn Olson!


1) Head over to Twitter and click sign up, via this link -
2) Enter in your contact information correctly as it will help you be indexed (found) based on location. It's also a perfect opportunity to self-market, or get the word out about yourself.
3) Voila - signed up. You may have to confirm your account by clicking on a link Twitter auto-sends to your email before you can sign in.
4) Head to your profile page once you've done this and upload a profile pic that is a healthy mix of professional/casual - a high quality smiling pic of your face is always a good choice.
5) Make sure you update your profile information with as much info as possible - this means email address, location, Skype, your blog if you have one, and your Linked-In. You can include stuff like your Linked-In profile in your bio as a link - this way people see it immediately upon viewing your Twitter! To do this, simply copy the web address in the address bar when your on profile page and paste it into the bio box of your Twitter profile!

O.k, now to actually finding some work through Twitter!

Tweet Away

1) There are two very useful Twitter tools you may have seen a lot but never quite understood.
2) The ( @ ) symbol. This symbol allows you to direct a Tweet or mention at a particular Twitter profile or page. Let's say for example you find a recruitment agency advertising a local job in your area, you could Tweet @ RecruitmentAgency asking them if the job was still available and for more details. This tool is incredibly useful for networking with others - but more on this later.
3) The ( # ) often referred to as the 'hash-tag'. The HT (hash tag) indexes words, topics or trends across Twitter. Say for example somebody Tweets about the new Harry Potter movie, if they wanted to connect with others based on this topic their Tweet may look a little like this: "So sad that #harrypotter is finally over! the last #harrypotter #movie was incredible! Was crying by the end!". So yes, there is logic to what initially looks like bad syntax and grammar. What this Tweet is doing, is making itself readily available to anybody who chooses to use the search bar with the terms Harry Potter and Movie. 
4) Using the ( # ) tag. A practical way for you guys to use the HT would look a little something like this:
"Currently looking for #marketing #work in #Norwich - able to work full-time if necessary, have a lot of relevant experience and very hard-working! 

So there is a little intro to the #hash tag, but we will cover this in more detail in part 2.

I Can't Find Any Work

O.k, so perhaps the most important Twitter feature available to you guys at the moment - is the ( Search bar ).
Located right at the top of the screen, opposite the blue Twitter logo, the search bar is an invaluable - and very very easy - tool for locating jobs and work in your area.

Using the Search Bar

1) Step one, locate the search bar
2) Step two, type in what you are searching for - keep it limited to two or three terms. For example:
"marketing work norwich" - would bring back any Tweets referring to marketing work in Norwich. Simples.
3) Step three - locate any recruitment agencies or job aggregation sites that look helpful (in the search results) then 'Follow' them. You will learn to tell as you conduct more searches which Twitter profiles are job sites and which are individuals, you'll also learn to decide for yourself which are more useful to follow!
4) After you 'Follow' these profiles on Twitter - every time they Tweet about a new job it will come up in your home feed, much like your Facebook home feed.
5) Now all you have to do is show a little patience and read through the jobs every day - or - be super active and track down as many job sites as you can find, remember they don't have to be based where you live, as they post jobs from all over the country!

In Part Two next week I'll give a run-down of the best way to contact these people once you're following them as well as a little more on the @ tool!

Thanks for reading - if it helped, remember to help spread the word!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Can't I Get A Summer Job?

By now you've probably realised that finding a summer job at the moment is an absolute nightmare. No matter where you go or where you apply, all the good jobs are taken!

But, why?

CourseHero did a little research and came up with this..

Click Me!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

WTF Is A Cover Letter?

Good question. WTF is a Cover Letter? What does it even mean?

Well, in the real working world - people want Cover Letters. They want them well written. And they want them now.

What Is A Cover Letter?

O.k, I want you to take everything you've ever heard/learned about cover letters and flush it out of your head. They aren't hard, they shouldn't be time consuming and hell they should even be fun. Think of it as a fun opportunity to network if nothing else.

It's fair enough people expecting you to attach cover letters for all your job applications, but not having a good idea of what a cover letter actually entails may put a spanner in the works.

A cover letter is simply a letter that explains why you are emailing or writing to somebody. Otherwise, you're just sending out C.Vs randomly in the hope that Duncan Donut may be looking to hire a new employee. So, if your writing to ask if somebody has work for the summer - tell them that!

IntroDUCKTION (funny right?)

Let's say your sending a covering letter to McDonalds for example, it might start a little something like this;

"Dear Sir/Madam" - yes, being polite actually helps.

"I am writing to enquire as to whether there is the possibility of any temporary work during the summer this year. Currently, I am a 2nd year student at the University of X in XTown, Ohio and will be free for full-time work if necessary the entire summer period - July to late Sept."

This is of course, if you're shooting in the dark and have no idea if they are looking to take on Summer staff. Even if they aren't, it shows initiative and you never know, you might get something back from this a few months down the line when you're at your lowest living off spaghetti hoops and cheerios.

What To Put In Your Cover Letter

O.key dokey then.

1) The introduction - (anything based on what is written above has always worked for me and I generally receive a response from 90% of my emails). Remember to introduce yourself however, don't be rude - why would somebody spend their precious free time reading an application from somebody who isn't even prepared to introduce themselves?

2) Match your cover letter to the job/job description - the MOST IMPORTANT part to any cover letter is tailoring it to the job position. If there is a job description with a list of requirements, PERFECT. If you can explain to an employer that you are exactly what they are specifically requesting - job done.

For example: "You state in the job description that you require an applicant who is:

Hard working and very motivated. “Having worked two jobs throughout most of my higher education, I have had to work hard consistently to maintain a healthy work/life balance and self motivate myself along the way.”

A minimum of 15 hours per week. “I'll address this issue right now and tell you I am prepared to work a minimum of 25 hours per week if required, and will happily work a full working week if required.”(Obviously don't committ to something you can't back up, but employers are often looking for those who can take on overtime when required as it is a massive help to have flexible workers).

A strong familiarity with Skill X. I am more than comfortable using Skill X, as is evident through my previous work experience. (Expand on this using a few lines with specific examples).

Again I can't stress enough how important it is to make it evident that you meet all the employers requirements.

3) A conclusion (Yeah, not much to it after all huh?)

Again, manners are essential. It's always nice to finish your letter with a little sign off. Write what comes most naturally to you, but remember to draw the line between formal and casual speech - it's a very fine line!

For example, I like to finish with something like this;

"Thanks very much for taking the time to consider my application.
(Saying thank-you goes a long way. People don't want to hire a douche with no manners, especially not in any service based industry).

Hoping to find you well,


*Your name*"

See? Nice and simple.

If you feel confident enough to drop in a bit about the company – i.e show off with some knowledge of what they do, knowledge of the trade/industry – feel free, it can only help!

Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Writing A C.V/Resume - 101

Everybody has their own opinion on how the 'perfect c.v' should be formatted. To be honest though, it's best to find what works best for you and what you feel reflects your personality and high-lights your strengths. Personally, I like to go with a minimal approach. Short and sweet. This could be a reflection of my personality, or possibly because I'm very lazy and don't want to invest a lot of time in writing a C.V... We'll go with number one for now.

1) Basic Info
You'll want your correct name, current address, telephone number, and email address. Something like this.

32 Suffolk Avenue,
Suffolk City,

Jeremy Jobsworth
Contact: 03838383

As long as there's some logic to the way you lay stuff out, it doesn't matter too much how you do it.

Next up ...

2)  Education

Self explanatory really. A list of where you went to school and what grades you achieved. This is also a good place to include any qualifications you have that may increase your Employability. This includes things such as;

1) Lifeguard qualifications
2) Qualified first-aiders
3) CSCS card/trade skills
4) Computer skills
5) Second languages

Just a few basic things that can help beef up your C.V.

But o.k, back to the format...

Again as long as it's logical, you can display this how you like, but I usually go for something like this...

Brown School, South Street, Suffolk (2002-2009)

G.C.S.E's                                                               A-Levels

Biology - A                                                             English Language - A
Chemistry - A                                                         English Literature - A
English Literature/Language - A                               History - A
French - A                                                              Sports Science - A
History - A
Geography - A
I.T - A
Maths - A
Physics - A
Sports Science - A

3) Work experience/previous employment

A lot of people like to write short accounts of what each job entails, what their duties included and any transferrable skills they learnt from these duties. Again this is entirely down to you. As I said, personally I tend to opt for the minimal approach - on the basis that your employer will have the basic intelligence necessary to grasp what working at McDonalds may have entailed.

*Side note* I do however tend to include a bit about the experience I gained from previous jobs when writing cover letters. For example: "You require the ability to 'think creatively and with ingenuity' in the job description. My work at Job X required me to use ingenuity and creativity to solve problems on a daily basis. I was required to think objectively and creatively to market material to a hard to reach demographic, this required guerilla methodology and the ability to see beyond the norm so to speak".

Back to basics, this is generally what I would include in my work experience section...

* Sales Assistant at McDonalds, 2008-2010
* Challenge of Management Course, Summer 2009
* Work Experience Harris & Son Solicitors, Easter 2010
* Content Editor Website X, Summer 2010

As you can see, simple and to the point. Try and keep it chronological if possible, it seems more professional.

And, to top it all off, I think it's always nice to include a little 'About Me' section. This is a good opportunity to include positives about yourself. If possible, try and contrast any weaknesses you have with your strengths, or, turn your negatives in positives - i.e, my only character flaw is I work too hard. Try not to go too over the top though, be intelligent with it!

4) About Me

I am easy to get along with, always happy to meet new people and can generally get on with pretty much anybody. I’m a hard worker, probably more of a perfectionist – if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. However, I can also work well under pressure and to tight deadlines, a skill that has been refined through several previous Sales Assistant positions I have held.

And voila! 

C.V writing 101. Done and dusted.

If you found any of this helpful at all check back in a few days for another article!

NEXT UP - Cover Letters Uncovered 

A look at how to write a good cover letter, not just general waffle about what it should look like!

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