Summer Employment for Students

In Education on July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

By Genevieve Gualtieri

A wise man once said, ‘If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job’. – Malcolm S. Forbes. The inevitable summer job search for students occasionally starts and ends with the drop of a resume. This simple gesture typically lowers that student’s resume to the bottom of the pile. I was presented with the opportunity to clarify what it is that employers look for in an employee and how students can increase their luck in the search of finding a summer job of their choice.

I approached ten boutiques and clothing stores located in the Town of Oakville to get answers for questions regarding summer employment opportunities for high school, college and university students. The resume is an important step when applying to a job. It needs to be well thought out, clean and professional, and of course the students credentials must to standout. But the resume is not everything; it is only one piece to the puzzle. Statistics show that 9 out of 10 stores will not only post a sign on the store window, but will also post online when new employers are needed. Words such as, personality, confidence, and initiative were frequently used to describe skills for the ideal employee. As the surveys continued, I suddenly realized how much work had to be put into searching for a job. Prior to this survey, I believed that bringing my resume into a store and dropping it off with an employee or a manager was all it took.

Statistics show that 10 out of 10 stores would ‘rather hire a student who took the time to have a conversation with the employee or manager than one who quickly dropped of a resume’. –Anonymous

After creating a bond with an employer or manager, some may say that the outcome is left up to luck and chance. The majority of retail jobs have a 3-month probation period in which the new employee is watched carefully and is expected to follow instruction without a glitch. These first 3-months are crucial in proving oneself to be fit for the particular job. The idea of a 3-month probation might worry students, but ‘stay calm and confident. You would be here to learn during those 3-months so please ask all the questions possible!’ –Anonymous

‘Retail is not as easy as some students think. When applying for a retail job, you must know what you’re getting into’ – Anonymous.

A first impression is instantly made within three seconds of meeting someone. In a retail environment, statistics show that 8 out of 10 stores will hire students based on a good first impression. When talking to store managers about first impressions, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. The first step is to introduce yourself, offer your hand and give them a firm handshake while making constant eye contact. Always sit with good posture, look presentable and professional and be confident in yourself. These steps immediately made me adjust my posture, reconsider my outfit and worry about my confidence in delivering my survey. Although these are all components of giving off a good first impression, personality seemed to be the most popular of them all. ‘An employer can train for skill, but they cannot change an individuals personality’ –Anonymous. Compatibility is a definite quality that is important not only for a retail job, but for every day life. Statistics show that 7 out of 10 employers will hire employees based on compatibility.

When I completed all the interviews and looked at the results of each survey, I noticed how much valuable advice I got by completing this task. The main thing I learnt from the managers of each store is that searching for a summer job is easy, but getting the opportunity to be hired is the hardest. Although first impressions and the delivery of resumes are important aspects of becoming employed, the most important thing is to be you!


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