If you’re applying for a Christmas job while at University, or just to get some extra cash for the holidays, your CV might need some fine tuning to get hired. Although most of these jobs are temporary, due to the huge need for extra staff around this festive time of the year, they should be treated with the same level of professionalism as a permanent position. Treating it with the utmost professional conduct will not only help you stand out from the crowd, but it will also be a great testament to the integrity of your character.
A mistake temporary workers often make is not taking their positions seriously. It can be especially damaging if you are in the early part of your career and might need to use one of these jobs as a reference, even just as a character one. No matter how cliché it sounds, it’s never a good idea to burn bridges, no matter how short they are.
1. Tailor Your CV
It is essential that you customise your CV for each seasonal job applied for - recruiters hate generic applications that have been sent or handed into a variety of businesses, and as a result don’t pay attention to them.
It may seem like a tall order, but online CV builders can help, allowing you to write several aimed at different sectors which hire temporary holiday workers and can be used as a base to work from for each specific company. For example, one could highlight your interest in baking and cooking when you apply for a position in the hospitality industry, and another could highlight your ability to interact with customers when you apply for front of the house, or retail positions. The difference will simply be in the emphasis you place on different skills, strengths and experiences.
2. List All Your Experience
If you are applying for a seasonal position while in education, it is important to list all relevant experience and skills for the recruiter. But, don’t just focus on work experience, also list volunteer work and skills gained at school or university. If you held a position of responsibility at school or university - captain of a club, for example, say so. If you are applying for your very first job, even if it is a holiday job you may find it helpful to include a reference from a teacher or another professional who knows you well, to confirm your credentials, trustworthiness and integrity of character.
Think about transferable skills - for example, teamwork through your role in a sports team, confidence from public speaking duties, an ability to liaison with different people if you organised your school prom. It is important to help the prospective employer understand how your strengths are relevant to them; don’t expect them to connect the dots in your experience, be explicit about how your skill set can suit the role.
3. Choose the Right Format
Depending on the level of experience you have; you may find it easier if you don’t use a chronological format. A CV that concentrates on skills can be a better way to show your strengths especially in the early stages of your career. Use a template to start you off, and play with the formatting until you feel it covers all your bases and represents you well.
A personal profile at the beginning can be a good place to capture your drive, personality and unique selling points, as well as any relevant awards or particular successes. Then cover your experience, both work and voluntary, and other skills such as language ability. Educational achievements and interests should be included if they are relevant, but are not necessary for all seasonal jobs.
4. Write a Draft, Rewrite and Edit
Once you have written your CV, ask others - trusted friends or family members - to review and spell check it. Double check details such as the name of the hiring manager and company, or risk it going straight to the bottom of the pile (or most likely into the bin).
If you are handing out paper copies to local businesses, keep track of where you have been and follow up to see if any positions are available if you are especially interested in that company. If you are applying online, keep a record of which jobs, even if they are holiday jobs, you have applied for, and ask for feedback if you are not successful after the interview.
5. Include a Cover Letter
Writing a good cover letter can significantly increase your chances of landing the role. Tailor it to a specific position, demonstrating your personality and your reasons for wanting to work in that particular business. Remember for seasonal jobs employers are often looking for employees who will learn quickly, offer flexibility and hard work over the high season. Highlight these attributes if you can.
Don’t underestimate the opportunities to turn a seasonal job into a permanent position, as many temporary jobs can become long-term and even careers. If you are unsure what seasonal work you might enjoy, think about positions in large chain stores especially, supermarkets, retailers and the hospitality industry - you might find that your seasonal job turns into a career that can last a lifetime.
Have you ever written a CV for a seasonal job? Did you follow any of the advice mentioned above? Let us know in the comments section below…