Are you looking for a part-time job in a shop, bar or restaurant? Dropping off your CV in person and asking to speak to the manager can be an effective strategy. First impressions really count, particularly if you are dressed appropriately and you come across as confident, personable and enthusiastic. A prospective employer will be impressed by your initiative and motivation too.
It’s a good idea to have a CV that you can leave with them. Even if they don’t have a vacancy at the time, you can always ask to be kept on file and you may well find that you get a phone call out of the blue.
However, don’t leave them your main graduate CV. Create a different shorter version that fits the type of employer you are targeting.
Here are some tips about what to leave out and what you should be emphasising instead.
- Make sure your CV is easy to follow and looks professional. Don’t overcrowd with too much text and don’t make it any longer than one or two sides of A4.
- Make sure your contact details are obvious. Your contact telephone numbers and email need to be clearly stated at the top of your CV.
- Remember what you want your CV to do for you! Make it obvious who you are eg a reliable and hard-working student seeking a part-time job in a customer facing role. Write a short personal profile (no more than 50 words) that states clearly what you can offer and what you want.
- Put your work experience section before your academic one. It’s always a good idea on a CV to position each section in order of importance for the type of job you want. So after a short personal profile, a section describing your work experience will be of more interest to a pub manager for example than details about your degree subject. For graduate jobs, the order will be different, as your academic background is likely to be your ‘main selling point’.
- Make sure your relevant work experience is clearly stated and easy to find. If you have relevant experience, mention this in your profile, and then expand on it more fully in a section called ‘work experience’.
- What does a prospective employer want from a student seeking a part-time job in a bar/shop/café etc? Use phrases and words that resonate with the hospitality and retail sector. A prospective employer will want to know that you ‘enjoy dealing with customers’ or ‘know how to create a welcoming friendly atmosphere’, or ‘have the tact and diplomacy to deal with demanding customers’, ‘have a flexible approach to work’ etc
- Only include relevant information. Reduce or even leave out completely complex detail about your degree course and subject specialisms. A busy shop manager doesn’t have the time to read about your dissertation choice or course modules for example. It may even put them off! You can mention what you are studying and where (eg Accounting and Finance student) but give this less prominence than you would give to it on your graduate CV.
- Demonstrate that you have the skills needed to work in a shop/bar etc. Position your ‘employment section’ after your ‘personal profile’ and expand on any part-time paid or voluntary jobs you have had previously. Use bullet points to describe duties and responsibilities such as handling money, preparing and serving food/drinks, helping customers find the goods they want. This shows that you could potentially hit the ground running.
- Promoting your transferable skills and personal qualities. If you have no previous work experience, then promote your transferable skills and personal attributes that demonstrate your suitability and employability. For example, that you get on well with people and can work well in a team; that you are reliable and responsible, confident and articulate. Mention extra-curricular activities that might show off your people and team-working skills.
If you haven’t had a part-time job before, then taking the plunge and making a speculative visit really could pay off. People respond to people, and if you are charming, friendly and smart, you could just be what they are looking for.
Finally don’t forget the careers team can support you with CV writing and looking for jobs. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org