Karen Lomas
August 3, 2013

The Job of Job Hunting

My teenage daughters are looking for work. Yes, if you’re looking for a babysitter, waitress, retail assistant, do please let me know! You see they have self-funding issues, in that the cash for the Vodka (for the 19 year old), the new jeans, the party costumes (most recently a penguin), and other such necessities of life, does not grow on trees. This is one of my mothers sayings. So many of them are just leaping off of my tongue these days. Another one that I treated my from FreeDigitalPhotos.netdaughter to the other day is, “Beggars can’t be Choosers”. Needless to say I got a long cold hard stare for that one; “If looks could kill!”. Wow, I’m on a roll.

The Job of Job Hunting

So the job hunting is in full swing, and I had no idea how tough it was going to be. I had already heard one anecdote from a friend whose 17 year old daughter had been interviewed extensively, for a part time job washing pots in a local cafe. Apparently she was asked questions that in my day were reserved for career positions; “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” was one such. My friend’s daughter reappeared from the cafe after half an hour and said, “why do they care about my strengths and weaknesses? All I’m going to be doing is washing pots!”

This is the nature of the job search in the current climate. There are so many applicants the power is well and truly in the hands of the employers. My own daughter applied to work for a big department store for their new Napoleon Perdis cosmetics counters. The first interview was in a group format and the applicants were required to carry out 3 team activities. I do recall doing some such thing for a management trainee position, but not for a part time minimum wage job. Despite the fact that my daughter has qualified with NP in make-up application, she did not reach the second round of interviews and was therefore unable to demonstrate her skills. Clearly there are so many people looking for part time work that the interviewers could be really selective, and sometimes it is an intangible factor that can get you across the line.

Getting the interview is the first major hurdle, and one way to do this is to write a great covering letter and resume. The trick with resumes is to sell those skills that you possess in a way that will specifically attract the recipient. That is, if you’re applying for a receptionist position, emphasise your experience in, ‘successfully documenting, or efficiently processing…’. If it’s a retail assistant vacancy, make much of your interpersonal skills and energy. The functional resume highlights your attributes and this can be particularly helpful to a teenager who has no employment record. You can use examples from your team activities at school, or your work as a volunteers on a community activity. It’s best not to fabricate attributes, so avoid saying that you’ve scored a goal in premier league soccer unless you absolutely did do that. But if you’re really proficient on computers and taught your gran how to navigate Twitter, then you can say that you successfully helped in teaching a family member a computer skill. Notice I’m suggesting you use action verbs; served, distributed, communicated, taught, cleaned, refereed…make a list of your successes and get them in there.

So now it’s time I cooked, served, cleaned and collapsed in a heap. The penguin has gone to her party and I’ve had to sub her for her drinks. I’m looking for a pay rise myself now :/

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