Question:

I've been applying for jobs at fast food places around my area. I realize I need to be supporting my family, and I know I need more than financial aid to be doing so. However, when I apply, they usually give me a time frame of when I'm available to work. I always make sure that I never put Sunday morning or Sunday evening, as well as Wednesday evening. I don't want to miss services. Don't get me wrong, I don't think those who miss services for work are doing anything wrong, but when I have a time sheet in front of me, I know I don't want to miss services. I realize this could affect the reason why I'm not getting the job, though. Is what I'm doing in this situation the right choice? I think I would feel intensely guilty if I said service times were available for my work schedule.


Answer:

There are so many factors that managers consider when hiring employees that it would be impossible to say what is interfering with your landing a job. What I've always told my children is to make services a priority and God will take care of the rest.

Two of my sons worked in department stores and both had put down that they are not available on Sunday or Wednesday evenings. They were hired, but after a month or two, each had a manager put them on the schedule for those times anyway. What I told them to do was to make it so the manager could not say, "no." Each found a fellow employee who was willing to take their time slot on that day (one swapped a day with other employee). The manager couldn't complain because there was no issue. The boys didn't increase the manager's workload by not showing up or demanding that their availability time be honored. In each case it only took a few instances before the manager learned it was even easier not to schedule them when they said they weren't available because then they didn't have to change the schedule.

I know you also have to schedule around your classes, and likely that is making a bigger impact on your availability time. But keep looking. To increase the likelihood of getting a call back, before getting an application, ask if they are hiring at the moment. If you can, ask for a moment of the manager's time and ask what type of people are they looking for. That will keep you from turning in applications in places where there is little hope of being hired. Next, when you return, ask if you might speak to the hiring manager and turn the application in directly to that person. Don't just leave it with someone at the front counter. You want the manager to have a face to go along with the application. While talking to him, ask if you might have an appointment for an interview. Over half the time, the hiring manager will set one up right then. If you get an appointment, don't be late! In fact, plan on being there five minutes early.

Dress is also important. You want to be dressed just a little bit better than the employees you see. It is a subtle statement that you care, just like being on time.

Take a look at The Top 10 Work Values Employers Look For. You want to be a valued employee.

Finally, broaden your scope. Every school has a list of local businesses looking to hire college students. Ask at your student services. Also talk to your teachers. They often have connections to local businesses and might know who is hiring or can put in a good word for you. Also ask if your school has a paid internship program or cooperative education program. Getting work experience in your field while you are at college benefits your learning ability and the ability you will have to be hired after you finish college.

Another place to check are temporary employment agencies. These jobs don't last, but many businesses will tell a really good temporary employee to come back later and apply for a job. If you go this route, stick to jobs in your field. Getting temporary jobs doing road construction when you want to be a legal assistant won't increase your prospects.