We’re not blinkered; as much as we love a good internship, we know that sometimes it might not be the right option when you feel the need to scratch an employability itch. Here’s our guide to CV-bolstering Christmas work, with something to suit everyone (no excuses).
Frankly, we bite our thumbs at those Scrooges who decry the early festivities. Christmas is a mere five weeks away after all, and what with all the mince pies still to be consumed, we’re already panicking.
If you want to give your CV a boost in addition to your waistline (what is it about cocktail sausages that is so darned irresistible? WHAT?) and if the very essence of your being isn’t quashed by maniacal revision, it might be worth considering Christmas work as an option. Not to mention the prospect of earning some delicious dollah. So go grab a bite of something seasonally delectable, and show some love for the prospects of your future self.
CHRISTMAS WORK FOR STUDENTS: A GUIDE
SEASONAL SHOP/BAR STAFF
‘Tis the season to be merry! Despite all the economic doom and gloom around the deteriorating state of high street trade, physical shops still need extra staff to cope with those few customers who haven’t heard of Amazon.com or the Internet At Large (here’s lookin’ at you, Great Aunt Mabel). Bars and restaurants also need a veritable army to deal with the boisterous influx of work parties.
The advantages are a fixed time frame, so no awkward excuse-making for why you were only employed for two weeks; perhaps a timely employee’s discount; conversing with customers filled with Christmas cheer; listening to Slade 12 times a day (whaddya mean, that’s not an advantage?!).
Your gift to your CV: this kind of work at Christmas, while fun, is stressful and exhausting. You’ll beef up your customer service kudos exponentially.
Where: any establishment within a mile radius of your village/town/city’s tastefully garish Christmas decorations.
When parents trot off in all their besequinned finery to let their hair down at a work party, someone’s gotta look after the sprogs. This is where you come in. And the good news is that kids – those who haven’t yet been jaded by the dreary truth, that is – are likely to be on their best behaviour in anticipation of Santa’s bulging sack.
Your gift to your CV: taking care of children can be the hardest job on earth. Just ask a parent in your vicinity. You’re a million things at once, all of them difficult, and all of them worthy.
Where: wherever you see a broken-off bit of a Fisher Price toy, smell the saccharine tang of Pop Tarts, or hear the screams of someone refusing to eat their broccoli.
There’s a bunch of people out there who don’t won’t have such a great time this Christmas. Drop-in centres, homeless shelters, elderly outreach and other charitable organisations are overwhelmed during the festive season and welcome extra pairs of hands. So put down that mince pie, and give ‘em yours.
Don’t feel preached at; this is a great opportunity to gain valuable short-term work experience which will look mega impressive on your CV – and do something nice for others while you’re at it. And last but not least, volunteer work can be easier to get hold of than paid work.
Your gift to your CV: teamwork, stamina, altruistic attitude, moral backbone… the list of glory is literally endless.
Where: Google, as always, is your friend. Try these websites for starters:
Data entry really isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be – certainly not for the duration of a week or two. You’re likely to be in the same boat as everyone else working the same job (i.e. hello new friends, HELLO post-work socialising). And generally speaking, the pay tends to be above minimum wage.
Your gift to your CV: that obligatory check-box… office experience. We’re not quite sure why so many employers harp on about the importance of a candidate having sat on a swivelly chair and figured out what all the different knobs on a watercooler mean, but they harp on about it, and that’s that. And an short ‘n’ sweet office temp job is your ticket to office experience rockstardom.
Where: our old pal, the Internet. Simply search for “Christmas temporary data entry work + [YOUR LOCATION]”.
Many universities use the student-free peace and quiet over the Christmas period to do tours for prospective students and their apprehensive parents, for which they require students with loud voices and beaming smiles to herd the crowd. It’s usually paid, you get to feel all knowledgeable and stuff, give back a little to the fosterers of your burgeoning further education, the toil is pleasantly non-9-to-5, and the work doesn’t have to stop when term starts.
Your gift to your CV: “ambassador” is quite a word to attribute to oneself. Need we say more?
Where: your university website should reveal all.
Depending on your year of study, you might already be asking yourself the dreaded question “what the bleedin’ ‘eck am I going to do with [enjoyable subject that all and sundry advised me against doing]?”. Well. The very fact that said subject is being offered a university means, by default, that there’s a teenager out there somewhere who is excited about filling their head with the stuff that you’re filling your head with.
Alternatively, if your degree is something as delightfully arcane as Yacht Operations or Puppetry, you might be able to dredge up sufficient residual brain matter of A-level / GCSE knowledge ilk to teach the basics of English or Maths. Or maybe you speak a second language (smartypants).
Your gift to your CV: tutoring is a bit like setting up your own business, managing your own client base and planning all your own work. You’ll look like both an expert and an entrepreneur.
Where: this one calls for the use of your noggin as well as a laptop. Try –
putting up an advert on the community board at your local supermarket
asking relatives to put the word out
asking at your local secondary school
putting an ad in the local paper (downside: £££).
- posting on a local tutoring forum
We might be unblinkered, but we’re not completely mad. An internship is, of course, sometimes a viable and enjoyable short-term option. They’re not as common as three-month internships, but one-month internships do exist if you look hard enough – and you might be able to negotiate a start date to suit your holidays.
If you can’t find any internship opportunities that hug the curve of your specific work-shaped needs, see if you can wheedle your way into shadowing a friend/relative/friendly-faced stranger you cornered on the street for a couple of weeks.
Your gift to your CV: the whole point of an internship is that you do it in a job role or industry that you consider to be of potential long-term interest. Get something relevant while you’re still a student, and your foot is firmly on the first rung of the ladder.
Where: come now, as if we need to tell you.
Our gift to you: a yuletide stockingful of advice-type things to help you get a job. You’re welcome.
By Corissa Nunn, European Development at Enternships