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Thread: Getting a service job

  1. #1
    Jul 2010
    Eastern Canada

    Getting a service job

    (I recognize that there was an earlier thread on applying to be a pizza delivery boy, but it didn't really answer my questions)

    Here's the situation: I graduated with my masters in the spring. I kinda half-looked for jobs over the summer, kinda spent my time decompressing after school stress. Now the summer is over and student loans are going to start kicking in. The problem is that there has been a dearth of planning jobs in my area, and I'm not yet willing to move too far for a job because my girlfriend still has another year at school in my city. In the meantime, I'd like to get a service job to pay the bills and give me something to do.

    The problem: I have no idea how to get one. I've applied to them in the past and have never heard back. I imagine my resume is scaring people because it has a masters and is full of planning-related jobs and basically makes it look like I'll drop their place as soon as something in my career comes up (which is exactly what I'll do). I could leave all that stuff off, but then it looks like I've been doing nothing at all for the last few years. There's also the problem that a lot of these places ask for references, and I'm not too keen to burn through reference goodwill for a job I don't really care about.

    The question: What strategy should I take in getting a service job? What should I leave off my resume? What should I include? How do I handle references? How do I make it seem like I won't leave them for greener pastures once I get a career job? Any other tips?

  2. #2
    Jul 2011
    Encinitas, CA
    Just my $0.02, but I would just craft your resume in such a way as to minimize education, and maximize work experience. Assuming you have relevant work experience? Also a strong cover letter never hurts - again, maximizing work experience not education.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    I agree with Tarf. I have at times put my education toward the end of my resume, with "relevant experience" up front. In the job description for experience, emphasize general skills that relate to the job you are applying for - customer service, working with the public, assisting the publlic, things like that. Then, in the cover letter you can frame the situation some as well.

    I think in this economy, most service jobs are not going to be too concerned about the possibility of you leaving. Yes, it may cost them time and money to rehire, but there is undoubtedly a huge line out the door of other qualified candidates. Those kinds of jobs (depending on what we are talking about) are not expected to be filled by careerists and so usualkly build in the expectation of high turnover.

    I also imagine these employers are seeing plenty of applications from overqualified candidates. You might consider a way to emphasize (tactfully) that despite experience in other settings, you are not too proud to be a good, hard, dedicated worker, no matter what the job. I think that might be a concern about hiring the overqualified - that they may feel themselves above the work and not be very good employees.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #4
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
    Dec 2010
    I'm gettin' there
    When I graduated with a bachelors, I was able to do a 6 month internship at home, but aftwerwards I had a 6 month internship away from home (and planning internships usually aren't enough to make rent).

    So I got a job as a server at a restaurant. Alls I can tell ya is what I did and maybe it'll work for you

    -I did list my Education, but only the school and the years attended, if your degree doesn't relate, no reason to mention. I more or less included my education only to prove I wasn't on my ass the whole time.

    -Hopefully you did a few jobs in high school and/or college? Usually these jobs are customer service related or with a little creativity u can swing it as such.

    -I ended up getting a job as a server at a pretty schwanky restaurant (which actually paid considerably more than my internship ) and I never had any previous experience working at a restaurant. The much more important aspect IMO was how I introduced myself; I was completely upfront about never working in such an environment but willingness to learn, etc. etc. basically I was enthusiastic without coming on too strong.

    -I'd say same rule applies for any Resume, always stick to the job description. Most service jobs are simple, so keep the Resume simple. I think you are correct in assuming if you list your thesis and graduate program on your Resume, they'll expect you to bail at the first opportunity.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

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