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”Take an advantage of your contacts and take time to draft your job applications”

The School of Business Alumni Ambassador Emilia Rantala encourages first-year students to gain work experience already during studies. "Any kind of work experience will later on help you proceed towards next job opportunities", she says, and below gives her advice on applying for summer jobs.
School of Business Alumni Ambassador Emilia Rantala

Emilia Rantala graduated in 2012, accounting as her major. She found her way to summer jobs already during the studies and in addition, completed few internships in different organizations before getting a fixed position.

Now that the summer job hunting season is on, we asked Emilia to give her advice for the current students on how to apply summer jobs: “First of all, I must say that applying for any kind of jobs, whether it is a summer job or a permanent position, is hard work. Refining your CV, drafting applications, calling to the employers and going through the recruiting process takes time and energy. It will nonetheless become easier as you gain more experience and your own career vision becomes clearer.”

How to apply for a summer job as a first-year student?

As a first-year student, it is very hard to stand out from the huge mass of applications if you don’t have any contacts to the companies offering summer jobs, and if you have only a little of work experience. I used the traditional tactics ”more is more”, and sent out applications to nearly every place I could think of. The most important thing for me was to get some work experience, and of course some money, and it did not matter that much who the employer was.

This tactics proved to be successful: my first summer jobs ranged from selling mobile plans to monitoring of account overdrafts and financial reporting. From every position I gained valuable experience and contacts, which helped me proceed towards next job opportunities.

What about applying for jobs later on?

It is a little easier to apply for jobs later on during your studies. Many students continue in the same organizations after summer job positions, but even then, you should ask for more responsibilities and new or supplementary tasks in order to develop your skills further. Sometimes the summer job changes into a part-time job to be done alongside studies, and after graduation, into a fixed position.

As you get more working life experience, it is then possible to seek for new job opportunities and the positions that really interest you. The summer job that I had when I was finishing my studies turned into a part-time job, and suddenly I was offered a temporary substitute position in the same company. I also did my Master’s thesis collecting data from the company where I was working.

As the temporary position ended and as I was soon to graduate, job-hunting started again. After sending few applications, I started in a trainee program, through which I was employed into the consulting field, where I spent several years.

Here are Emilia’s Top 5 tips for summer job hunting:

1. Go through possible contacts that you might have related to the organizations who are offering summer jobs. Take an advantage of them and use them wherever you can.

2. There might be many applicants, but so are there jobs, too. Be open to different possibilities! The more applications you send, the more opportunities you have in order to be selected.

3. Take time to draft your applications and be honest. What are the skills and attributes that would be useful in a specific job? What interests you in that specific organization/position?

4. If you continue in the same organization for more than one summer, try to develop yourself and your role by asking for more responsibilities and new tasks.

5. If you can’t find a summer job, don’t worry! There are summer courses for example at the Open University, where you can further your degree studies. Your future employers will also appreciate your effort in developing your skills in different ways. On the other hand, if you happen to have extra savings, you can also gain valuable experience outside the working life. Spending the summer by surfing abroad is not a bad option either.

 

Read more about Emilia Rantala’s studies and career path here.

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