first part-time job

September 28, 2018, by Carla

How to Apply for Your First Part-Time Job

Interview with Gurpreet Dhillon, BA History (2015)

Applying for part-time work for the first time might seem a bit daunting. Maybe you’re worried about feeling out of your depth or you’re just not quite sure where to start with your CV? This is totally normal, and just remember – everyone had to start somewhere. And at Nottingham, you have Unitemps right on your doorstep. 

Unitemps is part of your Careers and Employability Service and is a great way to get your first taste of employment. You can start small with a one-day assignment, and then build up to longer-term opportunities that fit around your studies or will earn you some extra cash during the holidays.

So, where to begin? First you’ll need to generate some ideas for your CV. “But I’ve never worked before!” you may cry! If you’ve never had a part-time job, that’s okay. There’s still plenty of options for you to consider. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? Did you hold any positions of responsibility at school? What did you put on your UCAS statement?

Once you have some ideas, you can book a CV review session at the Unitemps offices every Tuesday. We live here. You can also register with us at this time.

Once you’re on the books, you can start exploring opportunities that appeal to you. We’ve asked Gurpreet, a former student at Nottingham who now works behind the scenes at Unitemps, to answer the questions you ask us.

What can I apply for if I don’t have any formal experience?

I used Unitemps on a casual basis. Initially, I didn’t have a lot of experience and as I didn’t want to commit to regular work either, I chose one-off roles, such as open day helper, start-of-term registration assistant, housekeeper, and student greeter. These are great options to develop your skills and get an insight into what it’s like working through Unitemps. Even though it’s just for a day, it can really build your confidence and give you something to talk about when you apply for your second, third or fourth assignment!

What does a good application look like?

Having been on both sides of the Unitemps desk, the most important application advice I can give is to submit a tailored CV and covering letter – a generic application just won’t get you through to interview.

Read through the job advertisement and match your experience to what they are looking for. For example, does it say you need excellent communications skills? Maybe you could use an example of a team project you’re working on as part of your studies?

How can I make my application stand out?

Demonstrating enthusiasm for the position can really make your application stand out. A lot of employers are also looking for reliability, so once you’ve got a couple of roles under your belt, demonstrating this can really add weight to your application.

What if I don’t get the job?

Retaining hope is a really important tip. We get a lot of applications through Unitemps and there can be ten suitable candidates for a role that only requires one. Do not lose heart and keep applying. You will succeed! – There’s plenty of evidence for this if you look at my own application history on our system.

What’s it like when you successfully land a role?

It’s a great feeling when you get your first assignment. Aside from the obvious monetary benefits, it’s thrilling to gain real work experience.  You will also make friendships and develop contacts at the University. Good luck with making your first application!

If you are interested in signing up for Unitemps, you can find out more here. They are also offering weekly CV reviews on a Tuesday afternoon. You can either book an appointment by emailing or phoning 0115 846 7374. 

Posted in Alumni StoriesApplying For JobsWork experience