Looking for your first job?
Fresh out of school or college and in need of a job? We are all aware of the fact that not many jobs are advertised with complete beginners in mind. Nevertheless, one has to try one’s best to land a job and preferably one that, if not exactly your dream job, is at least decent. Here are a few tips to get started and make a good impression at your interview.
Writing your first CV
Employment history is obviously the section that can give a headache to school leavers. If you have no work experience at all, you can substitute this section for ’Personal Successes’ and describe your achievements and the skills required, for example voluntary work or sporting achievements, which show that you are capable of working hard. Taking a summer job as a student even if you don’t need the money will give you not only valuable insight into how workplaces are organised, but also something relevant to put on your CV.
If you manage to land an internship during the summer, consider yourself lucky, although sacrificing your last carefree summer might seem quite frustrating. However, an internship in the line of work you’re interested in has two things to offer: relevant work experience, on the one hand, and the opportunity to make contacts and find out about openings, on the other. Companies are more likely to hire someone after a successful internship than take a risk with a completely inexperienced person.
Make a good impression
Job interviews are often a negative experience for teens and young people due to nerves or mistakes. The good news is that interview skills can be learned and it’s worth practicing your answers to common interview questions in advance. Don’t forget that punctuality is very important when arriving and dressing up for an interview is expected. Naturally, you only need to wear a full suit if you apply for an office job, but it’s better not to show up in jeans and a T-shirt even for a summer camp job. It is also a good idea to ask a few job-related questions to show the interviewer that you’re interested in the position and the company.
Common interview questions
Tell me a little about yourself.
Be brief and focus on your skills, abilities and interests. This is definitely not the time to talk about your childhood, football trophies or the music you like. The interviewer is interested in what your plans are for the present and the future.
Why do you want to work for us?
This is your opportunity to talk about why you chose to apply for the job, why you think you’d fit in well and what you can offer to the company. And make sure you don’t say “because of the money.”
What extracurricular activities did you participate in?
This is the chance to show your personality, naturally, in a positive light. Therefore, pick extracurriculars that reflect your best traits and your interests.
Why should I hire you?
Don’t try to seem more experienced than you really are – making up things will just lead to trouble.
How has school prepared you for working at our company?
Talk about relevant classes, like IT, and courses that required you to do project work, do research and learn time management.
What are your salary expectations?
If you lack experience, it’s not easy to answer this question. Often employers offer only minimum wages to people fresh out of school, therefore it’s a good idea to ask around to find out how much people doing similar work actually earn.
Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or teacher?
Here you’re not expected to go on a rant about a weird or annoying supervisor or teacher. Focus on differences in personality or working styles and how you can overcome these. Come up with an example of how you learned something from an unpleasant situation and how this experience helped you become more aware of the necessity of team work, for example.
Tell me about a major problem you recently handled.
Employers want to get a sense of your problem solving skills, so give an example of a problem, including information on how you resolved it. This could be, for example, a problem you encountered in working on a group project.
in need of – valamire szüksége van
nevertheless – ennek ellenére
to land a job – állást kapni
decent – rendes, megfelelő
employment history – előző munkahelyek
to give a headache to – fejfájást okoz valakinek
work experience – munkatapasztalat
to substitute – helyettesíteni
voluntary – önkéntes
to be capable of – képes valamire
insight into – rálátás
relevant – releváns, tárgyhoz tartozó
internship – szakmai gyakorlat
opening – üresedés
to hire – felvenni, alkalmazni
to take a risk – kockázatot vállalni
due to – valami következtében
it’s worth – megéri
in advance – előre
punctuality – pontosság
brief – rövid
to apply for – jelentkezni valamire
to fit in – belilleszkedni
extracurricular activities – iskolán kívüli elfoglaltság
therefore – emiatt, ebből következőleg
to make something up – kitalálni valamit (ami nem igaz)
time management – időbeosztás
salary expectations – kereseti elvárás
lack – hiány
minimum wages – minimálbér
to ask around – kérdezősködni, körbeérdeklődni
similar – hasonló
supervisor – munkafelügyelő
to go on a rant – dühöngeni
personality – személyiség
to overcome – legyőzni
unpleasant situation – kellemetlen helyzet
problem solving skills – problémamegoldó képesség
to encounter – találkozni
A JOB INTERVIEW – A PART-TIME JOB (a hanganyagot a cikk tetején találod)
Man: Hello, Maureen, nice to meet you.
Woman: Hello Mr. Radfield, nice to meet you.
Man: So you’re interested in working as a waitress. Why should I hire you?
Woman: I had a summer job as a waitress the past two years in our local café and I believe I did well. I put the owner, Mrs Fox down in the references section on my CV.
Man: How many hours would you like to work?
Woman: The position you advertised is an evening part-time job. I would be happy to work Monday to Friday.
Man: Restaurants are at their busiest Friday and Saturday nights. Could you do Saturdays?
Woman: I’m sure I can manage Saturdays during the summer but I’ll be at college starting from September. Is there any chance of swapping two workdays for Saturday? I’m sure you’ll understand that I also need to do some coursework and that would be impossible if I have to work 6 evenings out of 7.
Man: I’ll have to think this over. Now tell me about a major problem you recently handled.
Woman: Last year we had a difficult client who sent back a perfectly good pizza for some reason. I offered him a tea and a biscuit on the house while he was waiting for the new pizza. Luckily, that calmed him down, as I hoped.
Man: Did you ask the manager if you were allowed to offer anything on the house?
Woman: There was no time, he was just about to start shouting. But it turned out to be the right decision.
A JOB INTERVIEW – A FULL-TIME JOB
Woman: Hello Jim, I’m glad you could come at such short notice.
Man: Hello Ms Diaz. Luckily, I was in town today – sorry I’m not dressed appropriately, I wasn’t expecting an interview. I’m completely aware of office dress codes.
Woman: No problem, I understand. After your internship last summer we were really glad to receive your application.
Man: I really enjoyed working here last year and now I have my degree I’m looking for a proper job.
Woman: Based on your previous experience we can offer you a full-time position starting the first of next month.
Man: I had a taste of how this company works last year. What are the responsibilities of this position?
Woman: For the month of August you’d be doing the same job as last year. You can take over during the month of September from Claire, the Finance Department secretary. You do remember her, don’t you? She’s going on maternity leave.
Man: Is overtime expected?
Woman: Not at all, except during the yearly budget review.
Man: I am definitely interested. Can I have some more details, please?