Practical steps to take to find a summer job

Jamie talks about some practical things you can do to help get your name and CV out to emmployers

Written by Jamie Mac Uiginn


A couple of months ago, I set sail on my adventure for summer-job hunting. It’s a tale of love, lust, action and overcoming adversity…. Okay maybe it isn’t as dramatic as that but it sure was nerve-rackingly scary. Like tens of thousands of hopeful and hard-working young people across Ireland I began my maiden voyage to find summer employment. It’s a long and gruelling story with a bucketful of heartache and a lifetimes worth of disappointment.

So to paint a picture of my beautiful parish in which I went job-hunting in, to put it simply it is an idyllic, scenic and semi tourist hot-spot with the culture and language in full bloom. It’s also one of the most densely populated rural areas in Europe so it’s actually quite busy and bustling in the summer. So I had four simple steps to get a Job because at the time I was under the illusion that getting a summer job was literally a walk in the park. How wrong was I.

Step 1: Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

At first glance I thought writing a CV was easy. It wasn’t. The first night I tried to write it, I ended up waking up at 7am face planted onto the keyboard of my laptop. Night one was very unproductive to say the least and I had an awful creak in my neck the whole day after it. I wouldn’t advise anyone else to sleep on their laptop. Not a good decision.

Night two was more fruitful with almost a full page complete, and I didn’t fall asleep on my laptop. By night three I was finished (hallelujah) all I had to do was finish off the little bit I had forgotten to do the night before and thanks to spunout I knew how to polish of my work and the layout. Step 1 COMPLETE.

Step 2: Plan which businesses to target

My mum had given me two guidelines for job-hunting: My job couldn’t be more than a 20 minute car journey from my house, the business had to be above board (Er.. no drug dealing for me then) These were the guidelines I would live and breathe by. I outlined 14 businesses in my area that had possible job prospects for me (or so I thought). These included supermarkets, cafes, newsagents, chemists and even an airport. I was set.

Step 3: Giving the CVs out

This was probably the most difficult step. I decided to use the “cold visiting” technique which is simply walking into a business uninvited and asking the manager for a job. In theory it sounds great but when it comes to executing it it is the most gut wrenching, confidence-testing thing I’ve done so far in my life. The sheer fear of rejection and embarrassment can be stomach-curdling, by the way this technique is not for everyone as I found out the hard way.

So I headed out to find myself a job and it was physically clear that I was nervous, my mum decided that she would go into the first place with me just to ease my nerves. Bad decision. We approached the registration desk and my mum explained I was looking for a job for the summer. The woman at the desk said “if your son is looking for a job then why are you speaking, he should be speaking. “You know what I do when parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts looking for jobs for their relatives, I just tear up the CV without even glancing at it”.

She then looked at me and said “Okay. Fire away, give me your best shot” I was so nervous. I was shaking like a tree in a hurricane that’s how nervous I was. I completely reiterated what my mum said at the start and she just stared at me as if saying “is that it?” She grabbed the CV out of my hand and said “You’re not even 18, how do you expect to get a job here”, and she handed me the CV back to me. Well excuse me while I pick up the broken shards of my confidence off the floor on my way out. I felt terrible. My confidence was completely knocked and smashed into a million pieces. It’s people like that that ruin people’s confidence permanently. There was literally thousands of words (not all PG, mostly swear words) I wanted to say to her but I decided that I wouldn’t drop to her level.

So after an hour, two cups of tea, an ice cream and a whole lot of persuasion I decided to battle on. 1 down. 13 to go and by god them 13 flew in. I still had the nervousness before I went into the place but the more I did the more my confidence grew. One thing all the businesses I went to had in common was their reply. It was literally word for word the same; “Sorry but we’re not looking to take on anyone at the moment but we will put your CV on file” So after all my bravery, all I got was 13 “no, but we might contact you when we do need someone” replies for all my efforts. When you put it like that it hardly sounds like it would be worth your breath and bravery to do it but if you put it into perspective and add a dash of optimism and it really is 13 maybes (how exciting).

Step 4: Wait, be patient and have faith

I’ve been waiting for 1 month, 2 weeks, 5 days, 16 hours, 43 minutes and 12, 13, 14, 15 seconds and counting. I received only one reply saying that they received my CV but aren’t employing anyone at the minute. At the minute the chances of me getting a job is like a vitamin c effervescent tablet in a glass of water, slowly fizzling out.

Why I want a job

  • MONEY- the little bit of financial independence would be amazing. I wouldn’t have the guilt of asking my parents for money anymore.
  • Socialising- getting amongst different people from different backgrounds would be incredible. Also socialising is good for your mental health!
  • Experience- having work experience now at an early age would worthwhile for helping me get a job in the future.
  • Meeting people (famous people)- okay this one is probably a bit far fetched but you have more of a chance of bumping into a celebrity in a job than on Facebook and Twitter at home. Probably less of a chance of this in rural areas like mine but you never know maybe someday Daniel O’ Donnell will walk in through the doors but that’s the height of it.

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